Japan has declared its intent to continue hunting whales in the Southern Ocean regardless of the conclusion of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) that Japan failed to demonstrate any need to hunt whales for scientific research. 

Under the NEWREP-A proposal, Japan plans to kill 3,996 minke whales over the next 12 years for “lethal research,” IWC’s Scientific Committee said. 

At a press conference in Tokyo on Friday following the release of the IWC report, Japan’s IWC Commissioner, Joji Morishita, said that Japan’s plans remain unchanged. 

“We of course intend to resume whaling again this year,” Morishita told a news conference. "

Despite its determination that Japan had failed to demonstrate the need for lethal research, the Scientific Committee noted they could not make definitive findings on NEWREP-A, because the plan contained “insufficient information.” 

The IWC had been expected to decide whether NEWREP-A addressed the issues that led to Japanese whaling being ruled illegal by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) last year. 

“Japan insists they are a nation that adheres to the rule of law, yet the International Court of Justice has ruled and their verdict was that Japan’s whaling is not ‘scientific research’,” said Captain Paul Watson, Sea Shepherd founder and senior strategic advisor for Sea Shepherd USA.

“Japan cannot demonstrate any new science to the IWC to justify their illegal activities for the simple reason that the science does not exist; it never has and no matter how much they dress it up, the plan is flawed scientifically,” Watson went on to say. 

In response to the ICJ decision, Japan suspended its Southern Ocean whale hunt during the 2014-2015 season. However, last fall, Japan introduced NEWREP-A, the plan that the Scientific Committee rejected Friday. 

“Japan is either bluffing or they have lost the plot entirely. They simply cannot go whaling in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary under the guise of scientific research without the approval of the IWC. If they do, it will invalidate the very reason that the IWC exists and it will broadcast to the world that Japan has no respect for international conservation law,” adds Watson. 

“Sea Shepherd expects the international community to strongly condemn and to censure any attempts by Japan to ignore their obligations to the rule of law.”


Source: www.worldmaritimenews.com  Image: Sea Shepherd