Images taken by conservation group, Sea Shepherd appear to indicate that Japanese whale hunters have been slaughtering whales in an Australian whale sanctuary.
The pictures show a dead minke whale on the deck of the whale factory ship, Nisshin Maru, which the vessels crew reportedly tried to cover up when they realised that they were being photographed.
The embarrassing discovery comes shortly after Japan’s Prime, Minister Shinzo Abe arrived in Sydney to continue talks on closer defence ties with Australia.
Australia has been a strong critic of Japan’s so-called ‘scientific’ whaling and, following this latest discovery, the Australian government announced its deep disappointment that Japan had decided to return to the Southern Ocean whale sanctuary to kill more whales for ‘research’.
Japan’s whaling fleet set sail for Antarctica in early December in defiance of the International Court of Justice’s ruling in 2014 which forced the country to cease whaling operations in the region. The scientific value of Japan’s ‘research’ hunts has also been heavily criticised by International Union for the Conservation of Nature and the International Whaling Commission’s own Scientific Committee of experts. Much of the meat ends up on sale commercially as proved by WDC’s recent exposure of the open and illegal online sale of several whale products to overseas customers.
“This new discovery confirms that the Japanese government neither cares about agreed IWC processes nor diplomatic protests from governments around the world and certainly not about the ICJ judgement, says WDC whaling lead, Astrid Fuchs. “What we need is decisive action in the form of economic pressure. The European Union, Australia and many other outspoken critics of Japan´s whaling are also amongst their closest trading partners. They need to use that as leverage to show Japan that their continued flouting of international agreements is unacceptable and a threat to their economy.”