Australia initiated the action to have Japan's programme banned because it fell outside the scientific allowance set down in the 1946 whaling convention and, after some debate, NZ joined in support.
While the decision has the potential to pressure Japan to curtail its programme, experts warn that getting involved in Aussie's challenge was risky, as losing could effectively sanction Japan's position, making attempts to negotiate an end to whaling more difficult.
At the time of the hearing, NZ Attorney-General Chris Finlayson warned it was "inevitable" that - if it won - Japan would trumpet the decision internationally as vindication.
Last night NZ Foreign Munster Womble McCully said NZ remained opposed to Japan's "scientific whaling"...(Yes, the NZ people are. But judging by Womble's lack-lustre efforts, one wonders if our govt representatives have their hearts in the fight).
Sir Geoffrey Palmer, former chairman of the International Whaling Commission (IWC), said he expected the ICJ ruling to be "dense" and highly-qualified, meaning both sides could walk away claiming victory. (But take what ol' Geoff says with a truckload of salt. After all, he was the NZ turncoat who advocated letting the nasty Nippons kill whales for another 10yrs as a trade-off for a scale-down!!! Riiiiight!)
Japan has shown no inclination to curb its whaling programme and the confrontations with Sea Shepherd in the Southern Ocean were making it more difficult for it to withdraw with dignity, a factor very important to Japan.
A final word (of warning???) ...Japan's top govt whaling spokesman Morishita was once asked by the BBC:
Q: "Under what circumstances, if any, would Japan stop whaling?"
A: "When all species of whales are endangered or depleted."