Prime Minister Abe presses for resumption of Japan’s annual slaughter in whale sanctuary – ‘I want to aim for the resumption of commercial whaling by conducting whaling research’Posted by Jim at Monday, June 09, 2014
9 June 2014 (BBC) – Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has said Japan will step up efforts to resume its annual whale hunt in the Antarctic.
"I want to aim for the resumption of commercial whaling by conducting whaling research," Mr Abe said.
In March, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled that the whaling programme was not for scientific research as Japan had claimed.
Australia, backed by New Zealand, brought the case against Japan in 2010.
Japan had stopped the hunt in the Antarctic after the ruling but vessels have carried on hunting Minke whales along Japan's northern coast. Japan says these are also for research purposes.
How Mr Abe intends to get around the international court ruling concerning the hunt in the Antarctic remains unclear, the BBC's Rupert Wingfield-Hayes reports from Tokyo.
Referring to the respect given to whales by those in towns where whaling takes place, Mr Abe said it was "regrettable that this part of Japanese culture is not understood".
The ICJ had said that Japan had killed around 3,600 Minke whales since 2005 under its Antarctic whaling programme, known as JARPA II.
While JARPA II could broadly be characterised as "scientific research", the scientific output from the programme was limited, and Japan had not sufficiently justified the whaling quotas it had set, the ICJ said.
During the court case, Australia argued that Japan's programme was commercial whaling in disguise, but Tokyo said the suit was an attempt to impose Australia's cultural norms on Japan. [more]