Despite international pressure to stop whale hunting and an international court of justice sentence that orders Japan to stop whale hunting this morning the massacre continued. Sailors sailed away in the horizon with the blessing of the Japanese government who is challenging international lobbyists and pressure groups and asking everyone not to interfere in their country’s own running.
The Japanese are legally arguing that their whale hunting practices are for “Scientific Purposes” however everyone knows this is just legal-talk and in reality whale-oil, skin and meat are a priced commodity in the Japanese culture and is a multi-million dollar a year business. Anti-whaling governments and groups have strongly opposed Japan’s whaling program.
Greenpeace argues that whales are endangered and must be protected however the Japanese government claims that it strongly supports the protection of endangered species, and the scientific whaling is essential to gather information about the status of the various populations. It further claims that the scale of the research is such that it does not affect the stock of the species. Proponents of Japanese whaling (including the Government of Japan) often argue that it is a cultural practice which foreigners should not oppose on the basis of cultural differences
The International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled that the Japanese whaling program in the Southern Ocean, begun in 2005 and called “JARPA II”, was not for scientific purposes and ordered the cessation of JARPA II in March 2014. Following initial co-operation from Japan, the media reported in September 2014 on Japan’s intention to submit a revised whaling programme in November 2014. The plan NEWREP-A is scheduled to begin in December 2015; the objective is to collect 3,000 Antarctic minke whales over ten years, starting with 330 whales during the 2015-2016 season. The population size of the Antarctic Minke Whale is considered “data deficient” but “clearly in the hundreds of thousands.
These hunts are a source of conflict between pro- and anti-whaling countries and organizations. Nations, scientists and environmental organizations opposed to whaling consider the Japanese research program to be unnecessary, and that it is a thinly disguised commercial whaling operation. Japan maintains that annual whaling is sustainable and necessary for scientific study and management of whale stocks. Japan also argues that objections to whaling are based upon cultural differences and emotions.
In 1972, the United Nations Environmental Conference produced a 52–0 vote in favor of a 10-year global moratorium on commercial whaling. However, the UN resolution was not adopted by the IWC by a vote of 6-no, 4-yes and 4-abstain. Japan, Russia, Iceland, Norway, South Africa and Panama voted no.