Thursday, October 29, 2015

Japan plans to defy international law on whaling

Last year Australia successfully took Japan to the International Court of Justice to get it to stop its "scientific" whaling program. But while they had originally announced they would obey the rulign and international law, Japan now intends to defy it:

Japan initially said it would abide by the ruling in the Hague. In April it submitted a revised whaling plan under which 333 minke whales would be killed each year between 2015 and 2027, about one-third the haul it previously targeted.

But experts at the IWC said the new program offered no scientific justification for the slaughter.

In a special declaration, however, the Japanese government recently told the UN that the ICJ’s jurisdiction “does not apply to ... any dispute arising out of, concerning, or relating to research on, or conservation, management or exploitation of, living resources of the sea”.

So, faced with an adverse court ruling, they've decided to withdraw from the court on that issue. Which sounds awfully like their past attitude to international forums reasserting itself.

As for the solution, the Humane Society has apparently brought contempt proceedings in the Australian courts in an effort to force the Australian government to enforce a previous ruling against Japanese whaling in Australian waters. But I think the Australian government is unlikely to act to enforce its own laws. Which means we'll need to rely on Sea Shepherd to do it for them.