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Japan’s whalers get into the ’snake oil’ business

Snake Oil bottle label Every year we are bombarded with advertising campaigns for things such as washing powder that claim that their product is ‘brand new’. We all have suspicions that in reality these ‘new products’ are in fact, simply repackaged versions of the same product (with maybe a new variation on an ingredient) we used last year and the year before.

It seems that Japan’s whalers are now getting into the ‘snake-oil’ business, claiming that their repackaged whaling program is ‘brand spanking new’, and that the thousands of whales it killed illegally under its last so-called ‘research whaling program’ will be replaced with a shiny new program that will please ‘almost’ everyone.

The Japan Times is reporting that Japanese whaling vessels are setting sail for Antarctica again, but this time without their harpoons which they have left to be polished at home.

The Japan Times reports, “The [Japanese] Fisheries Agency said the Institute of Cetacean Research plans to conduct nonlethal research on whales until March 28. As the research does not involve catching whales, harpoons have been removed from the vessels, the agency said. Two ships, which will set sail Thursday, will carry out “sighting surveys” and take skin samples from the huge marine mammals. A third vessel will sail in support.”

The Japanese Government had to cancel this year’s Antarctic whaling programme after being ordered last March to cease its whaling activities in the Southern Oceans by the United Nation’s International Court of Justice (ICJ).

The Japanese Government’s quango, the Institute of Cetacean Research (ICR), in a weak attempt to answer some of the long list of criticisms of the ICJ, has stated that the new research period will last for 12 years from 2015.

The new whaling plan sets out a program for hunting some 333 minke whales annually, down from up to 900 in Japan’s previous whaling that was legally condemned by the ICJ.

However, it may well be that, Japan’s future whaling program may still be in contempt of the ICJ ruling if it’s not careful. The Japanese Government has submitted its new proposed whaling plan to the International Whaling Commission (IWC) but the IWC has instructed its own Scientific Committee to review the ICJ decision with respect to any future scientific whaling permit applications.

If the IWC decides that Japan’s proposals are not necessary for the conservation of whales or to assist in the management of whaling (a position that it has consistently held since the adoption of the moratorium on commercial whaling) this may well mean that Japan’s new taxpayer-funded whaling program will follow its predecessor, when Japan’s nationalistic and self-serving interpretation of ‘science’ led it directly to the doors of the ICJ.

More on the issue of Japanese ‘Scientific’ Whaling

 

The Ruling of the International Court

In a damning ruling the Court found:

Japan’s whaling in Antarctica does not comply with the IWC’s definition of scientific permit whaling

“…that the special permits granted by Japan in connection with  JARPA II do not fall within the provisions of Article VIII, paragraph 1, of the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling;”

That Japan is in contravention with the moratorium on commercial whaling 

“…that Japan, by granting special permits to kill, take and treat finhumpback and Antarctic minke whales in pursuance of JARPA II, has not acted in conformity  with its obligations under paragraph 10 (e) of the Schedule to the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling;”

That Japan is in contravention with the moratorium on factory ship whaling

“…finds, by twelve votes to four, that Japan has not acted in conformity with its obligations under paragraph 10 (d) of the Schedule to the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling in relation to the killing, taking and treating of fin whales in pursuance of JARPA II;”

That Japan is in contravention of the Southern Ocean Sanctuary

“… that Japan has not acted in conformity with its obligations under  paragraph 7 (b) of the Schedule to the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling  in relation to the killing, taking and treating of fin whales in the “Southern Ocean Sanctuary” in  pursuance of JARPA II;”

The Court orders Japan to cease all Antarctic whaling and not to issue any more permits to whale in Antarctica

“… that Japan shall revoke any extant authorization, permit or licence granted in relation to JARPA II, and refrain from granting any further permits in  pursuance of that programme.”

Full statement from the Court