Saturday, December 12, 2015

Whaling: Agree To Disagree - Japan

We've done nothing wrong by going whaling again, says Japan's top whaling official. quotes Joji Morishita, Japan's IWC Commissioner, as quipping "the world must agree to disagree on the issue."
The International Court of Justice (ICJ) said last year that Japan's Southern Ocean whaling must stop (though not necessarily forever) and the International Whaling Committee (IWC) ruled that Japan had yet to demonstrate a need for killing whales.
"A-whaling we will go!"
So Tokyo took a year off from Antarctic whaling.
But Morishita says reworking of its hunt plan for the 2015/16 season - which cuts the minke whale target by two-thirds to 333 - has made every effort to meet the objections of both the court and the IWC. "We decided to implement our research plan, because we are confident we completed the scientific homework, as well as meeting the ICJ requirement."
Morishita added that whaling may just be another one of many irreconcilable differences international society has to live with: "However, this does not mean we'll take all whales - exactly because we'd like to have sustainable whaling, we'd like to have a healthy whale population."
If Japan steps back from the emotive public debate and impassioned environmental protests for a moment, it can surely see it is still in breach of rulings from both the IWC and ICJ.
It is not up to Japan to decide it's met the requirements of a court judgement. It has to present it's fresh plans for further evaluation. Only then, if the IWC rules in favour, can it carry on sushi-gathering in the name of 'research'.
As for ignoring the full-stop laid down by the ICJ, there must be more fall-out from this, than just a "tut-tut". Does the ICJ have the teeth to impose upon Japan punitive sanctions for contempt of court, or does it have as little strength as the UN?

No comments: