[Joint Statement] Stop the new research whaling plan

Non-lethal research is a real international contribution

Iruka & Kujira (Dolphin & Whale) Action Network
Greenpeace Japan

 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 welcome the non-lethal research and praise such decision by the government. The world's ocean is now facing many threats including; the rise in sea temperature with climate change, the serious decline of marine species due to overfishing and by-catch, acidification, and marine debris resulting from human activities.

 Considering such circumstances, the conservation of the Antarctic, one of the few areas on earth left unscathed, is a pressing issue, and research required for conservation is also vital for people. If the Japanese government carries out the Antarctic research not for the purpose of catching whales but for the marine conservation, it will no doubt be a tremendous contribution to the international community.

 Still, in November 2014, the government announced and submitted to the IWC scientific committee its new research-whaling plan scheduled for 2015. The government is trying to conduct research whaling with the resumption of commercial whaling in view, despite the resolution that the special permit be granted based on the review and recommendation of the scientific committee, which was adopted at the 65th IWC meeting held in Slovenia last September. However, the reality is the domestic demand for whale meat is stagnant, and no company goes out to the Antarctic to catch whales. Moreover, the system in which the research is sustained by the profit from whale meat sales, set up in 1986 with the start of research whaling, is no longer functioning. The current program is made barely afloat by large injections of public money.

 For these reasons, we request the following:

  1. The Japanese government to cease all research whaling programs,
  2. For research where public funds are used, increase transparency and commit to marine research that aims to make international contributions.