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Whales 1 Japan 0

Written By: - Date published: 11:45 am, April 1st, 2014 - 12 comments
Categories: Conservation, Environment, Japan, john key - Tags:

Whale greenpeace

I have been following this issue for a while.  A couple of months ago I noted that back in February 2010 John Key said that he had a potential solution to solving the whaling crisis which he would discuss with Hillary Clinton and that he would take his plan to the upcoming International Whaling Commission meeting.  Regrettably nothing ever came of it.  As Eddie commented at the time it appeared that Key was talking out of his arse.  It subsequently transpired that Key had formed the view that to save the whales you had to kill the whales.

Australia took a contrary position and decided to test Japan’s claim that its whaling was for scientific purposes to the International Court of Justice.  Resolution of the issue is important because under article 8 of the International Convention for the regulation of whaling killing for scientific research is allowed.  In particular:

[A]ny Contracting Government may grant to any of its nationals a special permit authorizing that national to kill, take and treat whales for purposes of scientific research subject to such restrictions as to number and subject to such other conditions as the Contracting Government thinks fit, and the killing, taking, and treating of whales in accordance with the provisions of this Article shall be exempt from the operation of this Convention.

The International Court of Justice has now ruled Japan’s current practice illegal.  From the Herald:

The future of whaling in Japan was thrown into doubt after the International Court of Justice ruled Monday that the nation’s annual hunt in the Antarctic was not really for scientific purposes as Tokyo had claimed and ordered it halted.

The ruling was a major victory for whaling opponents, as it ends for now one of the world’s biggest whale hunts, for minkes in the icy Southern Ocean. The judgment was praised by Australia, which brought the case against Japan in 2010, and by environmentalists, who have been seeking an end to whaling since the 1970s on ethical grounds.

The world court’s decision leaves Japan with a tough choice between ending whaling outright despite past claims that it would never abandon such a deep-seated cultural practice or redesigning its program to make it a scientific endeavor after all.

There is more detail of the judgment in the Guardian.

In a lengthy ruling, the presiding judge in the Hague, Peter Tomka, said Japan had failed to prove that its pursuit of hundreds of mainly minke whales in Antarctic waters every winter – under a programme known as Jarpa II – was for scientific purposes.

“The evidence does not establish that the programme’s design and implementation are reasonable in relation to achieving its stated objectives,” Tomka said.

“The court concludes that the special permits granted by Japan for the killing, taking and treating of whales in connection with Jarpa II are not for purposes of scientific research,” he added, before ordering Japan to cease its whaling programme “with immediate effect”.

Congratulations to all involved.  But we will need to see if Japan tries to continue the practice of whale killing under some newly designed scheme.

12 comments on “Whales 1 Japan 0”

  1. One Anonymous Bloke 1

    We also have to wait and see whether Tony Abbott will commence whaling on Australia’s behalf, issue permits to the Japanese, or simply turn a blind eye to business as usual.

  2. Anton 2

    This story, and the current one on the IPCC report, are refreshingly free of “alternative sources”, to provide “balance”. Do you think that some MSM reporters now realise that the debate is no longer the story? Or is it that Glen Inwood has yet not had his starting orders from his Japanese clients?

  3. captain hook 3

    To understand the Japanese psyche it is necessary to read the Sword And The Chrysanthenum BY Ruth Benedict. Post modernists pooh pooh anything 50 years old but that does not alter the truth of the matter. The Japanese through their keiretsu and fish markets also have a vested interest in sustained whaling and the so do the macho noo noo heads at the fish markets who think that buying a big fish means they have a big dick.
    fair is foul and foul is fair.
    welcome to the monkeyhouse.

    • Populuxe1 3.1

      Sigh. The Chrysanthemum and the Sword and it’s a load of cobblers. Ruth Benedict never even set foot in Japan – she did all her research interviewing a Japanese-American who had been born in the US, spent a few years as a young teen in Japan during the militarisation, was profoundly alienated by it, and was back in the US well and truly before the war. The rest is all second and third research. It sampled a particular class in a very hierarchical society and presented it as a national identity – it’s bollocks.

  4. The Real Matthew 4

    I think the score is probably more like Japan 25 Whales 1 after all these years but nevertheless and important victory.

  5. logie97 5

    McCully, on National radio this morning, was asked if the actions of groups like Sea Shepherd can now feel vindicated – his response was basically negative and that they had probably hindered negotiations.

    Who needs enemies when you have friends like these in high places.

    Dare I suggest that when future discussions arise around nuclear free zones again, the NACT government will claim the moral high ground (should there be progress) and tell us that the campaigns like CND, Greenpeace Aotearoa, NZLP, et al were a hinderance, to disarmament.

    • Tracey 5.1

      he also said someone might sue japan about north pacific whaling. it was clear from his tone and what he didnt say, that it wont be nz under national.

      national mps just dont understand people who put their lives at risk, espesh if there is no knighthood or payment. pete bethune is beyond their comprehension…

    • nadis 5.2

      Knee jerk reactions aside, there is some truth in what McCully said. Whaling in Japan is all tied up in a historic, nostalgic, nationalistic view of the world. All completely built on false foundations but nonetheless, the pro-whaling lobby in Japan has sold this to their nation as dirty hippies and western cultural imperialists messing with a proud cultural tradition. This court decision is likely to be seized wholeheartedly by the Japanese government as a face saving way to quit an economically unsustainable industry.

      Sea Shepherd/Greenpeace etc would never ever be successful directly with the Japanese, but they did channel enough support in NZ/Australia etc to force the Govts to take stronger and consistent bi-partisan diplomatic actions which have culminated in this.

  6. captain hook 6

    Why dont the japs come down here and harpoon whale boil?

  7. unitedtribes 7

    It was Helen Clark who decided not to join Australia in the court case so don’t come at saying JK was talking out his arse.

    • Murray Olsen 7.1

      The case was taken up in 2010. Geoffrey Palmer had played his usual weak and conciliatory role before that, not wanting to take the whalers to court.

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