Share & Connect
The International Court of Justice [ICJ] recently erected walls of prohibition against Japan, commanding an end to its extensive whale catching program carried out in the Antarctic and thereby ending years of controversy linked to the actual intention of whaling by Japan.
In 2010, Australia took Japan to the International Court of Justice by instituting proceedings against the island nation regarding its large-scale whaling program under the Second Phase of Japanese Whale Research Program [JARPA II] in the Antarctic, violating obligations assumed by Japan under the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling.
The roots of the whaling brawl lies in the real purpose of the program. Japanese officials defends the scale of national whaling as a venture for “scientific purpose” while the international community view it as an activity inspired by financial interests.
According to the Japan Daily Times website, Australia has argued that Japan’s claim over its whaling activity under the JARPA II research program, which was supposed to study whaling habits in a scientific manner, is just a cover for commercial whaling.
In 1986, Japan disengaged itself from the law on commercial whaling amended by the International Whaling Commission and in 1987 launched its first JARPA I program, described as “a program for research on the southern hemisphere minke whale and for preliminary research on the marine ecosystem in the Antarctic.” It was designed to estimate ‘the stock the size of southern hemisphere minke whales’ in order to provide a scientific basis for resolving problems faced by the International Whaling Commission.
Whaling by Japan in the antarctic had always been controversial because the scientific program carried out for research proposes hardly produced any verifiable outcomes over the years as proposed by the program. Rather it has been found that the meat of the hunted whales is sold in fish markets. Another reason for the controversy is the techniques used by Japan for catching of whales.
After 18 years since the first research program in the Antarctic, Japan in 2005 launched a new research program called JARPA II. Since 2005, Japan had issued itself permits to kill up to 950 minke, 50 fin, and 50 humpback whales, One Green Planet website reported.
The scale of killings and the brutal hunting techniques adopted by Japan over the last few decades has emerged as a strong testimony that this program is not meant for research purposes. The court ruled that whaling by Japan is in stark contrast to the definition of scientific whaling of the IWC and decreed Japan to refrain from Whaling.
The four year long battle between Australia and Japan came to an end this March with the pronouncement of the much-awaited ruling by the court. It has brought a vibrant new dawn to the future of whales and is viewed as an achievement by all the organizations and countries fighting to secure the future of whales.
Image credit: Wikipedia.org