Joint Statement We Demand the Government of Japan to Revoke NEWREP-NP!

December 2nd, 2016

Joint Statement

We Demand the Government of Japan to Revoke NEWREP-NP!

TO: Prime Minister Sinzo Abe
TO:Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Yuji Yamamoto
TO Director-General of Fisheries Agency Kazuo Sato

On November 8th, the Japanese government submitted the new Scientific Whale Research Program for the western North Pacific (NEWREP-NP) to the International Whaling Commission Scientific Committee (IWC-SC). This plan not only undermines the resolution adopted by the IWC but also it is clearly incongruous to the “sustainable use” that Japan has been claiming their practice to be.
We hereby demand the Japanese government immediately revoke the program.

  1. Stop the hunt of 100 minke whales off the coasts of Japan and 47 minke whales of the rare J-stock in Okhotsk seas, and the 27 minke whales to be taken directly by the whaling fleet.
  2. Stop NEWREP-NP’s planned hunt of 140 sei whales.
  • At the 65th IWC meeting in 2014, Japan’s request for taking 17 minke whales from the Pacific waters off Japan, supposedly based on the RMP calculation, was voted down. This catch quota was the biggest figure discussed at the time. Now, the new plan is to extract 174 minke whales. This is a blatant derision of the RMP.
  • The basis for taking 47 minke whales from the Okhotsk, which in the past the government prohibited the hunt of, due to their threatened status, provided in the plan is based on the observation which “suggests a possible recovery of J stock common minke whales and an ensuing increased ‘spill over’ from the Sea of Japan to the Pacific side of Japan*” and they claim “Further investigation is necessary to confirm this.*” The recovery is only a possibility, and clearly should not serve as a foundation for granting the permit.
  • J-Stock population is already facing threats of fixed nets set up by Japan and Korea, with many reported by-catch incidents every year. It has become an international concern.
  • Moreover, the planned research area is in proximity to Shiretoko World Heritage Site, where the whale-watching industry is thriving. The possible effects of whaling on the local whale population is disconcerting, as this population is currently being sustainably utilized by the tourism industry.
  • In the plan, there is a mention of elucidating the influence of the global warming. However, looking at the coastal research program on the Pacific side, only 16 were caught in the spring and 21 in the fall, against the 101-minke quota. It is doubtful that the sample size of 100 (+27) whales will be able to unravel the global problem.
  • Sei whale is listed as Endangered by IUCN, and its trade is prohibited by CITES. Japan currently has a reservation on trade of minke and fin whales but not on the western North Pacific population of sei whales. Since the beginning of sei whale catch in 2002, under the category of Introduction From the Sea (IFS) the government and the fisheries agency have been granting catch and introduction permits for sei whales, which only involves a one-state transaction. Some international law scholars criticize it as a violation of CITES regulations.
  • This new plan does not seem to take into consideration the ruling handed down by the Court of Justice on JARPAII. It also disregards the resolution adopted at the 65th IWC meeting in 2014 to discuss the research plan based on advice from Scientific Committee.
  • The government has been appealing that Japan laid the foundation for a dialogue between contracting governments on research whaling and established a working group, contributing to IWC’s consensus making. We think this new plan can only hinder future dialogue. We demand that the government cease the research whaling program immediately.

* Government of Japan. Proposed Research Plan for New Scientific Whale Research Program in the western North Pacific (NEWREP-NP). 2016.

(ALIVE)A Life in Viable Environment(ALIVE)
Choices For Tomorrow(CFT)
NPO Animal Rights Center
Circle Of Life
Iruka & Kujira (Dolphin & Whale) Action Network
Citizens Against Chemicals Pollution
Japan Environmental Layers Federation
Greenpeace Japan
Shizen-Tuushin(Nature Information News)
Japan Tiger and Elephant Fund
Biodiversity Information Box
Association to protect Northernmost Dugong
Put an End to Animal Cruelty and Exploitation(PEACE)
Japan Wildlife Conservation Society
Voice for Zoo Animals Japan