Ja­pan to leave In­ter­na­tional Whal­ing Com­mis­sion, re­sume com­mer

The East African - - OUTLOOK - A JOINT RE­PORT

JA­PAN an­nounced last month that it is with­draw­ing from the In­ter­na­tional Whal­ing Com­mis­sion and will re­sume com­mer­cial whale hunt­ing next year, spark­ing swift con­dem­na­tion from other gov­ern­ments and con­ser­va­tion groups.

Tokyo ar­gues that the IWC has failed to live up to its ini­tial dual man­date in 1946, to find a bal­ance be­tween pre­serv­ing whale stocks and al­low­ing the "or­derly de­vel­op­ment" of the whal­ing in­dus­try. After fail­ing to reach an agree­ment at a global con­fer­ence in Brazil in Septem­ber to re­sume com­mer­cial whal­ing, Ja­pan is now fol­low­ing through on a threat to with­draw from the global body en­tirely.

"Re­gret­tably, we have reached a de­ci­sion that it is im­pos­si­ble in the IWC to seek the co­ex­is­tence of states with dif­fer­ent views," Chief Cabi­net Sec­re­tary Yoshi­hide Suga said in a state­ment.

The with­drawal will take ef­fect at the end of June, with com­mer­cial whal­ing to re­sume in July "in line with Ja­pan's ba­sic pol­icy of pro­mot­ing sus­tain­able use of aquatic liv­ing re­sources based on sci­en­tific ev­i­dence," Mr Suga said,

As a re­sult, Ja­pan will cease tak­ing whales from the Antarc­tic Ocean and South­ern Hemi­sphere — where it has os­ten­si­bly been killing whales for sci­en­tific re­search — and will con­duct com­mer­cial whal­ing "within Ja­pan's ter­ri­to­rial sea and its ex­clu­sive eco­nomic zone," he said.

Mr Suga said the hunt would re­spect catch lim­its based on IWC cal­cu­la­tions "to avoid neg­a­tive im­pact on cetacean re­sources." Aus­tralia's govern­ment said it was "ex­tremely dis­ap­pointed" by the de­ci­sion while New Zealand re­gret­ted Ja­pan's re­sump­tion of an "out­dated and un­nec­es­sary prac­tice."

"By leav­ing the In­ter­na­tional Whal­ing Com­mis­sion but con­tin­u­ing to kill whales com­mer­cially, Ja­pan now be­comes a pi­rate whal­ing na­tion killing these ocean leviathans com­pletely out­side the bounds of in­ter­na­tional law," said Kitty Block, pres­i­dent of Hu­mane So­ci­ety In­ter­na­tional.

Hu­mane So­ci­ety In­ter­na­tional said it was also con­cerned that Ja­pan may re­cruit other pro-whal­ing na­tions to leave the IWC, "lead­ing to a new chap­ter of rene­gade slaugh­ter of whales for profit."

Clare Perry, ocean cam­paigns leader for the En­vi­ron­men­tal In­ves­ti­ga­tion Agency, said history had demon­strated the need for global pre­cau­tion whale pop­u­la­tions. "Ja­pan is re­ject­ing mu ting a very bad prece which will likely hav tive con­se­quences for she said. "It may brin whale pop­u­la­tions cu in­ter­na­tional waters price."

Faced with col­laps IWC agreed to a mor cial whal­ing from 19 with sav­ing sev­eral s ex­tinc­tion. But Ja­pan

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