Japan to resume commercial whaling amid global criticism

Japan to resume commercial whaling amid global criticism

Japan to resume commercial whaling amid global criticism

Environmental group Greenpeace condemned the decision and disputed Japan's view that whale stocks have recovered, noting also that ocean life is being threatened by pollution as well as overfishing.

Japan announced Wednesday that it is withdrawing from the International Whaling Commission and will resume commercial whale hunting next year, sparking swift condemnation from other governments and conservation groups.

With Japan's withdrawal from the IWC, there is no mistaking the country's determination to hunt whales on a commercial basis.

Suga said the IWC has been dominated by conservationists and Japan was disappointed over its efforts to manage whale stocks even though the IWC has a treaty mandate for both whale conservation and development of the whaling industry.

Leaving the IWC means Japanese whalers will be able to resume hunting in Japanese coastal waters of minke and other whales now protected by the IWC.

"By leaving the International Whaling Commission but continuing to kill whales commercially, Japan now becomes a pirate whaling nation killing these ocean leviathans completely outside the bounds of international law", said Kitty Block, president of Humane Society International.

The IWC imposed a commercial moratorium in the 1980s due to a dwindling whale population.

Masayuki Komatsu, who served as the chief negotiator for Japan's Fisheries Agency from 1991 to 2005, called the decision to withdraw a "misjudgment" and said it would not necessarily stem the steady decline of Japan's whaling industry over the past decade and a half.

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Sir Geoffrey, a past Prime Minister, and New Zealand's representative on the commission for eight years until 2010, said Japan may go ahead with its often repeated threat to set up a separate organisation of countries that support commercial whaling.

Hopefully it will not be "Japan" that resumes whaling as a nationalised industry financed by taxes, as the "scientific research" is, but private companies that will not be able to turn a profit and will eventually sink beneath the waves.

"In its long history, Japan has used whales not only as a source of protein but also for a variety of other purposes", the statement said. He said that group was meant to facilitate the development of the whaling industry, as well as conserve whale populations. Commercial whaling operations will begin on July 1, 2019.

As the gap between pro-whaling and anti-whaling nations widened with that loss, it was expected Japan would leave the IWC.

But doubts exist about whether Japanese commercial whaling can be economically viable, especially as fewer people than ever are eating whale meat, they said. Critics considered the research a sham, little more than a cover for commercial whaling.

"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".

"I have attended IWC meetings several times in the past, and I was struck by their extremely biased views", he said. Japan has until now justified its annual Antarctic whale hunt in the name of scientific research, which it says is necessary to evaluate global populations of whale species. "Their decision to withdraw is regrettable and Australia urges Japan to return to the Convention and Commission as a matter of priority".

Japan used to annually consume around 233,000 tonnes of whale meat in the 60s amid food shortages after World War II, but more recently it's been closer to around 5,000 tonnes - a fraction of what it used to be.

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