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Japanese whaling fleet leaves port weeks after International court delivers ban verdict

A Japanese whaling fleet has left port under tight security in the first hunt since the United Nation’s International Court of Justice, ICJ ordered Tokyo to stop killing whales in the Antarctic last month.

In the summer of 2013, the Australian government took Japan to the court in a bid to expose the true nature Japanese so-called ‘scientific’ research programme under which it has previously killed over 7,000 whales in Antarctica. During the hearing, representatives from the Australian government outlined how useless Japanese whaling is in scientific terms.

Last month, a judgment in the case was delivered by the ICJ, the principal judicial arm of the United Nations. The court condemned Japanese ‘scientific whaling’ in the Antarctic region and ordered it to stop on the grounds that it was commercial whale slaughter masquerading as research.

Despite the Japanese government saying it would abide by the decision, it seems a halt won’t be called to its other hunts. Four ships have now departed from the fishing town of Ayukawa in the northeast, marking the start of this season’s coastal whaling programme.

The Japanese government may well have failed to review fully the implications of the ICJ ruling and its extended applicability to other forms of so-called ‘scientific whaling’.