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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.
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).
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.?
Disaster Recovery Funds Used to Cover the Research Whaling Debts Must Be Returned
Tokyo, November 13, 2013 – On October 5th 2012, Greenpeace Japan and the Dolphin & Whale Action Network (IKAN) called on the Board of Audit of Japan to conduct an urgent and independent investigation into the details of the misuse of 2.28 billion yen in tsunami recovery funds under the project called “Cetacean Research Stabilization Promotion,” as well as to call for returning the funds that did not meet the initial objectives of supporting Ishinomaki City in Miyagi Prefecture (1). We also urged the board to review the injection of government subsidies into whaling operations pointing out that the Institute of Cetacean Research has excessive debts (2).
On October 31st, the Board of Audit of Japan released a report on the findings from their earlier investigation, stating that the Cetacean Research Stabilization Promotion Project “cannot be accepted as a direct benefit to the recovery efforts and is a questionable expense spent from the disaster funds (3).”
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.
How many whales did they catch this time? To find out, we will have to wait for the press release scheduled to be released in one week...