UN Bans Japan from Antarctic Whaling
The UN's International Court of Justice (ICJ) has ruled that the Japanese government must halt its whaling program in the Antarctic. It finally agreed with Australia, which had presented the case in May 2010. Australia’s case claimed that the Japanese whaling program was not for scientific research as claimed by Tokyo, arguing that the program was commercial whaling in disguise. A score of other countries have condemned Japan for the practice, yet it took 4 years for UN’s ICJ to pass its verdict. The court's decision is considered legally binding. Reading out the verdict, Presiding Judge Peter Tomka said the court had decided, by 12 votes to four, that Japan should withdraw all permits and licenses for whaling in the Antarctic and refrain from issuing any new ones.
Japan’s Small Cetacean Overkill
According to the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), an independent organization committed to bringing about change that protects the natural world from environmental crime and abuse, over a million toothed whales, dolphins and turtles, have been killed in direct hunts in Japan in the past 70 years. Catch limits set by the Government of Japan for 2013 permit the killing of 16,655 small cetaceans. This represents the largest directed hunt of cetaceans in the world. A comprehensive analysis of the available scientific data demonstrates unequivocally that there are grave concerns regarding the sustainability of these hunts. Nine small cetacean species are targeted in Japan’s coastal hunts, which take the form of small-type coastal whaling, hand harpoon hunts and drive hunts.