Japan's Plan to Resume Commercial Whaling Met With Criticism

Japan announces IWC withdrawal to resume commercial whaling

Japan announces IWC withdrawal to resume commercial whaling

Japan announced Wednesday that it is leaving the International Whaling Commission to resume commercial hunts for the animals for the first time in 30 years, but said it would no longer go to the Antarctic for its much-criticized annual killings. But Fuchs said that the population of minke whales near Japan is already threatened, and Sam Annesley, the executive director at Greenpeace Japan, raised concerns about the commercial whaling of sei whales, among others.

The decision to withdraw from the IWC followed its latest rejection of Japan's bid to resume commercial whaling at a September meeting, which Suga said showed it was impossible to bridge the gap between whaling advocates and anti-whaling members. "We won't hunt in Antarctic waters or in the southern hemisphere", said Suga.

However, the move of Japan has drawn worldwide criticism citing the decision to overlap the 1986 global ban on commercial whaling.

Tony Burke, the Australian environment minister who took Japan to the International Court of Justice in 2014 and secured the halt on whaling in the southern oceans, says he has mixed feelings about the announcement, which heralds the reemergence of whaling for money.

Suga said Japan will notify the IWC of its decision by December 31 and remains committed to global cooperation on proper management of marine living resources even after its IWC withdrawal.

The decision will spell the end of Japan's whaling in the Southern Ocean that has seen its boats in clashes with anti-whaling group Sea Shepherd.

"The government of Japan must urgently act to conserve marine ecosystems, rather than resume commercial whaling", he added.

The IWC, which imposed a commercial moratorium in the 1980s due to a dwindling whale population, rejected Tokyo's request to resume commercial whaling in September.

In going rogue, Japan is yielding up its southern whaling claims, but is also signaling its intention to get back in the boat and restart its commercial whaling program.

Japan began scientific whaling in 1987, a year after an worldwide whaling moratorium began.

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Japan has carried out whaling in waters such as the Antarctic Ocean in the name of scientific research, but Australia and other anti-whaling countries have called the hunt a cover for commercial whaling.

"The truth is Japan never stopped commercial whaling".

AMCS CEO Darren Kindleysides said, "If Japan leaving the IWC spells the end of their Southern Ocean whaling that would be a win for our whales".

Exit fee means that Japanese whaling ships will be able to resume the hunt in Japanese coastal waters for whales, which are now protected by the IWC. Japan was the only country with an ambition to return to commercial whaling in the Antarctic Ocean.

Australia, one of Japan's biggest critics on the issue, said it was "extremely disappointed".

"At the IWC general meeting in September this year, it became evident once again that those supporting the sustainable use of whale stocks and those supporting protection can not co-exist, leading us to this conclusion". "It has consistently failed but instead of accepting that most nations no longer want to hunt whales, it has now simply walked out".

Yoshie Nakatani, an official at the foreign ministry's fisheries division, said Japan would still attend IWC meetings.

Fisheries officials have said Japan annually consumes thousands of tons of whale meat from the research hunts, mainly by older Japanese seeking a nostalgic meal. "What's most important is to have a diverse and stable food supply", he said.

Japan also explained that even after the withdrawal, .it will continue to contribute to preserving maritime resources by conducting whaling within the catch limit of the IWC.

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