Japan’s prime minister has told the Japanese parliament he will boost his efforts toward restarting commercial whaling despite a recent ruling by the International Court of Justice (the UN’s highest court) that Tokyo must stop killing whales in the Antarctic.
“I want to aim for the resumption of commercial whaling by conducting whaling research in order to obtain scientific data indispensable for the management of whale resources,” says Shinzo Abe.
Japan has hunted whales by exploiting a loophole in the 1986 global ban, which allows lethal research on the mammals. But, much of meat ends up in restaurants and on fish markets.
In the summer of 2013, the Australian government took Japan to the international court in a bid to expose the true nature Japanese so-called ‘scientific’ research programme under which it has previously killed over 7,000 whales in Antarctica. During the hearing, representatives from the Australian government outlined how useless Japanese whaling is in scientific terms.
A judgment in the case was delivered by the ICJ earlier this year. The court condemned Japanese ‘scientific whaling’ in the Antarctic region and ordered it to stop on the grounds that it was commercial whale slaughter masquerading as research.
Tokyo then called off its 2014-15 Antarctic hunting season. However, it says it will look at how it could resume the hunts by make them ‘more scientific’.
The prime minister’s comments come after Japan’s “whale week” campaign begins, during which the Japanese people are reminded that whaling and eating whale meat are part of their culture.