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October 18. 2016
Japanese NGO Joint Statement
Regarding the International Whaling Commission’s meeting 66
(Being held in Slovenia, October 20-28)
Statement translated from the original Japanese
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe
Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Yuji Yamamoto
Director-General of Fisheries Agency Kazuo Sato
We, Iruka & Kujira (Dolphin & Whale) Action Network, Greenpeace Japan and a collective of Japanese NGOs, request the Government of Japan to undertake the following:
1. Respect past resolutions adopted by the International Whaling Commission (IWC) and the ruling of the International Court of Justice (ICJ), and do not issue new permits intended to approve research whaling in Antarctica and the Northwest Pacific ocean, including for ‘coastal research whaling.’
2. Revoke the budget for restarting commercial whaling, since industrial whaling companies have already abandoned this as a viable business venture and there is no possibility of private firms newly entering this industry.
3. Reallocate the ¥5.1 billion budget currently allocated to research whaling and instead allocate this funding for research on coastal ecosystems and marine resources, to preserve the health of the sea.
- This program is no different from JARPAII, which the International Court of Justice (ICJ) didn't recognize as having 'scientific purpose.' Implementing the program also goes against the resolution adopted by the 65th Meeting of International Whaling Commission that stated the program needed be discussed at the Commission before its implementation.
- Due to the decline in domestic demand for whale meat, there is no company that wishes to restart economically unviable large-scale commercial whaling in the open waters.
- A considerable amount of tax money has been spent (thrown =too casual) the whaling program, and the amount only keeps growing. Research whaling has now become a state-run business, and the Japanese public including who don't eat whale meat are paying for it.
- Research whaling is the obstacle to an international agreement, blocking the reopening of the coastal small-type whaling.
- Marine research in Antarctica should be done by the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR.) 6) The budget spent on research whaling should be allocated to researching coastal areas and supporting the revitalization of coastal fisheries.
~A statement against the departure of research whaling fleets ~
The government of Japan announced that it would abide by the international judgement in response to the International Court of Justice ruling against the Antarctic research whaling (JARPAII) that came out last March. However, on October 6th this year the government sent a letter to the UN to amend its declaration to abide by the ICJ agreement, to avoid having further lawsuits from other countries. The government is now forcing ahead with more Antarctic research whaling under its new plans.
We demand the government respect the international rules and not carry out any new research whaling program.
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.
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.
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.