In a legal run-up that's taken three bloody years already, Australia and Japan finally head to court.
The International Court of Justice (ICJ) holds public hearings in the case over Japan's Antarctic whaling from 26th June. Australia's lawyers fire the first shots on the opening day of the hearing in the UN's highest court, followed a week later by Japan. But a ruling may not be handed down for several months (possibly not early enough to stop the next season of whaling).
Australia took Japan to the Hague-based ICJ in May 2010 alleging Japan's continued pursuit of a large-scale whaling programme put Japan in breach of international conventions, and its obligation to preserve marine mammals and the marine environment. Of course the nasty Nippons maintain the programme is for scientific research!
|Yum! 'Research' results for dinner!|
However Oz says this won't affect bilateral ties with Japan...after all, Japan is Oz's 2nd-largest trading partner after China! Hell no! Never let a dispute of such importance stand in the way of good old fashioned money-making!
Of course, should the ICJ find in favour of Oz, that means it'll have to send its navy down into the Sthrn Ocean to ensure Japan complies. And that's a whole new ball-game!