Japan is continuing a strategy of bypassing the International Whaling Commission (the international body the regulates whale hunting) by seeking to recruit scientific support for its commercial whaling activity in the Antarctic.
Various news reports state that, on the 2nd Sept, Japan decided to reduce its Antarctic whaling programme to only hunt minke whales after strong international criticism and ban by the U.N.’s top court.
On March 31, the International Court of Justice ordered a halt to the ‘research’ whaling program in the Antarctic, ruling that it is not for scientific purposes as the Japanese government had claimed.
The current program of hunts in Antarctica has a unilaterally-set quota (number of whales it can kill) of 1,035 and targets three kinds of whales – minke, fin and humpback.
In anticipation of a renewed debate at the IWC following the heavy criticism by the International Court of Justice, Japan has sought to recruit scientific support for its hunt outside and before the meeting through a ‘voluntary review process’.
A number of country allies that have been recruited by Japan over the last few years are expected to attend at the IWC meeting to try and support Japan’s demands to renew commercial whaling.
You can follow the debates at the IWC here direct from WDC.