Aerial view of blood on the deck of the Nisshin Maru, after three whales were butchered. On 5 January 2014, Japanese poachers slaughtered 3 minke whales, and Sea Shepherd Australia captured their illegal activities on camera as witnessed by the bloodied deck of the Nisshin Maru, stained from the butchering of these magnificent sentient creatures. Photo: Tim Watters / Sea Shepherd Australia

Tokyo, 18 April 2014 (AFP) – Japan says it will redesign its controversial Antarctic whaling mission in a bid to make it more scientific, after a United Nations court ruled it was a commercial hunt masquerading as research.

The bullish response, which could see harpoon ships back in the Southern Ocean next year, sets Tokyo back on a collision course with environmentalists.

Campaigners had hailed the decision by the International Court of Justice, with hopes that it might herald the end of a practice they view as barbaric.

"We will carry out extensive studies in cooperation with ministries concerned to submit a new research program by this autumn to the International Whaling Commission (IWC), reflecting the criteria laid out in the verdict," said Yoshimasa Hayashi, minister of agriculture, forestry and fisheries.

Japan, a member of the IWC, has hunted whales under a loophole allowing for lethal research. It has always maintained that it was intending to prove the whale population was large enough to sustain commercial hunting.

But it never hid the fact that the by-product of whale meat made its way onto menus.

"The verdict confirmed that the (IWC moratorium) is partly aimed at sustainable use of whale resources.

"Following this, our country will firmly maintain its basic policy of conducting whaling for research, on the basis of international law and scientific foundations, to collect scientific data necessary for the regulation of whale resources, and aim for resumption of commercial whaling."

Hayashi, who had met with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe earlier on Friday, confirmed an earlier announcement that the 2014-15 hunt in the Southern Ocean would not go ahead.  […]

An element of the court's ruling was that the Japanese mission was catching far too many whales for it to be considered legitimate scientific research.

Some commentators had suggested that Tokyo might use the court decision as cover to retreat from an entrenched position in which it defended as vital cultural heritage a practice that costs a lot of taxpayers' money and does not enjoy much public support.

Friday's announcement will come as a blow to anti-whaling campaigners, who had urged Tokyo to follow the spirit of the court ruling and heed global public opinion, which they say is firmly against hunting whales.

Environmental activist group Sea Shepherd, whose sometimes aggressive confrontations with Japanese whaling boats on the high seas saw them labelled "pirates" by a US judge, said earlier this month they expected Tokyo to try to work around the court ruling. [more]

Japan will 'redesign' Antarctic whaling program to make it more scientific


By Captain Paul Watson
19 April 2014

Japan has made it official. They intend to ignore the verdict of the International Court of Justice and they intend to continue killing whales in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.

I predicted that they would do just that and Sea Shepherd Global is prepared to return for an eleventh intervention against illegal Japanese whaling in the Sanctuary.

The whalers say they will incorporate new measures to counter Sea Shepherd activities. Sea Shepherd Global will incorporate new measures to counter the Japanese counter measures.

The Whale Wars Continue

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