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Joint Statement “Retract the amendment to the ICJ compulsory jurisdiction agreement and withdraw from the implementation of the new research whaling plan”
On October 6th 2015, it came to light that the government of Japan sent a notice to the UN stating that it would amend its declaration to abide by the compulsory jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice (ICJ). According to the notice, Japan will no longer accept lawsuits pertaining “any dispute arising out of, concerning, or relating to research on, or conservation, management or exploitation of, living resources of the sea.” This is Japan's strategy to avoid having further lawsuits filed by other countries through the ICJ against its new research whaling plan (NEWREP-A) that it plans to implement this year.
A ship called WINTER BAY is to dock at Osaka Port on August 30th, bringing 1815 tons of fin whale meat from Iceland according to the port’s online data. This load is comprised of all the 137 whales caught in Iceland last year.
Fin whale is categorized as Endangered and on the Red List by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN). It is also listed in Annex I in Convention for the International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES) that commercial trade of its meat is prohibited.
Regardless, Iceland, which has no custom of eating the meat, continues to catch fin whales to sell to Japan, and the nations continue to trade by putting a reservation on the resolution.
Non-lethal research is a real international contribution
On March 31st, 2014 the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ordered the Japanese government not to grant permit for research whaling. It ruled that the Japanese Whale Research Program under Special Permit in the Antarctic Phase II (JARPA II) that begun in 2004 was not for scientific purposes as stipulated in the Article VIII of the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling. Based on the court's decision, the government now plans to implement only the non-lethal, sighting survey in the 2014/15program.
We Support the Ruling by the International Court of Justice and Welcome the Halt of Research Whaling
Iruka&Kujira(Dolphin&Whale) Action Network
The International Court of Justice in The Hague ruled that Japan's research whaling in the Antarctica (JARPA II) is not meeting the objectives of scientific research stipulated in Article 8 of the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling, in the case lodged by Australia challenging the scientific validity of Japan's research whaling.
We welcome the court's ruling, and would like to add, and strongly emphasize the point, that the initial objective of the research whaling, which was to restart commercial whaling, is now totally lacking foundation as Japanese companies already have declared to withdraw from the business.?
Considering the implementing body of the whaling, the Institute of Research Whaling, is also going bankrupt, restarting commercial whaling in the Antarctica cannot be viable, and we hope, whether research or not, no whaling will be conducted in the Antarctic seas ever again.?
In Response to the Announcement of the Commencement of The Japanese Whale Research Program under Special Permit in the North (JARPN II)
On March 31st, the International Court of Justice ruled that the Japanese government should not grant further permits for the research whaling program in Antarctica (JARPAII) concluding that the purpose of the program is not scientific. Although the government of Japan stated that it would abide by the court’s ruling, on April 18th it announced its intension of carrying out coastal research whaling and the Japanese Research Whaling under Special Permit in the North (JARPNII) with a reduced catch quota this year. The government also announced that it would implement the next fiscal year’s research whaling in both the Antarctica and the Northwest Pacific, with a change in the research plans. These announcements came as a result of decisions made at the Agriculture and Fisheries Committee meetings on April 16th and 18th in the Upper and Lower Houses, where they voted in favor of continuing whaling.
Problems of JARPN II
The problems of JARPA II pointed out by the court also apply to JARPN II. For example, the actual catch does not reach the catch quota deemed necessary for scientific research, even though there is no obstruction from anti-whaling groups in the Northwest Pacific. This is likely due to the “production adjustment” for species that either has excess stock or has not much demand for its meat (*1).
January 24th, 2014
Dolphin & Whale (Iruka & Kujira) Action Network
On January 17th, 250 bottle-nosed dolphins were driven into a bay in Taiji, Wakayama Prefecture. The news came out from a foreign watch group stationed in Taiji, and it spread throughout the world. The critical tweet on the hunt by the American Ambassador in Japan, Mrs. Caroline Kennedy, also drew media and public attention, building up a huge international outcry to stop the hunt. At the same time, we see a different reaction within Japan: there is a noticeable tendency for self-defense and people taking nationalistic stance. It seems that the real issue has been muddied as it was switched to an issue of cultural conflict.
Our group has been working within Japan to protect dolphins and whales, and we would like to point out some problems we now face in order to bring change into this situation.