What will Japan learn by resuming 'research' whaling?

A humpback whale

Japan announces it will resume 'scientific whaling' in 2015, despite ban by the ICJ

LAST UPDATED AT 13:03 ON Wed 9 Jul 2014

Japan will restart its scientific whaling programme in 2015, according to the country's prime minister, Shinzo Abe.

Japan cancelled its scheduled 2014-2015 Antarctic hunt in the wake of an International Court of Justice ruling ordering its operation to stop, but Abe said that next year whaling for "research" purposes would resume.

In a meeting with Australia's prime minister, Tony Abbott, Abe explained that, in his view, the ICJ ruling simply sought to establish protocols for the sustainable use of resources.

"Based on this, Japan, looking at international law and scientific grounds, will engage in research whaling in order to collect the indispensable scientific information in order to manage the whale resources," he said.

Abe stressed that his country was a "good international citizen" and would adhere to the terms of the ICJ's decision.

Abbott expressed Australia's opposition to the programme, saying "Australia and Japan respectfully differ on the question of whaling".

The announcement sparked outcry from environmentalists, who believe that Japan's whaling programme is merely an attempt to circumvent the ban on the commercial whale meat trade.

There has been an international moratorium on commercial whaling in place since 1986, The Guardian notes, but Japan has continued its activities under an exemption that allows countries to hunt and kill whales for scientific purposes.

A "whale week" was recently held by Yoshimasa Hayashi, Japan's fisheries minister, to remind Japanese people about the place eating the animal has in their diet and culture.

Since 1995, Japanese whalers have killed about 3,600 minke, fin and other whales, the Financial Times reports, as part of a programme that claims to study whales' migratory patterns and the impact they have on the ocean ecosystems.

Darren Kindleysides, director of the Australian Marine Conservation Society, told Guardian Australia that there were ways to pursue whale research without killing the animals. "The ICJ judgment was damning over the lack of science and the fact Japan hasn't looked at non-lethal ways of collecting research on whales," he said. "With the methods we now have to study whales, it's a fallacy to say you have to kill them to study them". · 

Disqus - noscript

This is an absolute disgrace and a clear breaking of the law.The authorities need to show, by stopping this horrible slaughter, that the law must be obeyed. If the population all broke the law chaos would ensue. To cruelly slaughter these magnificent sea creatures is truly abhorrent and we must see it stopped. The ocean is in a terrible state while man stands by and lets this dreadful irreversible catastrophe to run on. We are destroying our planet, make no mistake. We are destroying our wonderful wildlife and much else.

The people of the world can bring Japan to its knees quite easily. STOP BUYING jAPANESE CARS. Two months of no sales will drive home the message. If you want to get a person's attention, squeeze their wallet.

It's bad to kill these whales, but it's worse to undermine the regime of
international law. It's hard for me as an outsider to understand what's
in it for Japan. The fact that they held a national week-long event
touting the role of whale meat eating in their culture is telling.

Japan is generally thought of as a nice country - certainly nicer that
my country, the US of A. We routinely flout international law of course.

I wish a Japanese advocate of whale hunting
who isn't a fanatic nationalist etc) would chime in and help us understand it.

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About refusing to buy Japanese cars etc, if we enforced similar
standards on other countries, we wouldn't be able to buy anything
anywhere, certainly not, IMO, from the US.

Why is it 'only' Japan that 'needs' this scientific data from whales?

What is the resulting scientific enlightenment of this slaughter?

Why has no other nation felt the need to kill whales for this apparently priceless information?

Surely if whale data were key to some globally significant scientific goal, every nation with a coastline would want to do the same.

The fact no other nation wants to kill whales for 'science' proves to me that whale harvesting has no scientific value that cannot be found by other means.

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