A world court slapped a moratorium on Japanese from slaughtering whales in the Antarctic in April but the country’s whale enthusiasts have no plans to stop their hobby in the northwest Pacific. Shortly after the Hague-based International Court of Justice ruled that the Japanese were illegally hunting whales in the Antarctic, the Fisheries Agency of Japan announced it would abandon “research whaling” plans in that region. But Agency insiders argued that the ruling did not deter the Japanese from continuing their practice in the northwest Pacific region or extending their hunting into the broader Oceania region. Japan asserts that it carries out whale hunting in the two regions of Antarctic and northwest Pacific on grounds that it is doing so for “scientific research”. But the ICJ at their hearing last month found Japan’s Antarctic whaling programme, coded JARPA II, not a scientific programme as permitted under the International Whaling Commission rules. The ICJ ruling stressed that the Japanese programme violated the Commission’s moratorium on commercial whaling. “It is expected Japan will take account of the reasoning and conclusions contained in this judgement as it evaluates the possibility of granting any future permits,” the Court of Justice declared. The Japan Whaling Association has long maintained that despite a chorus of opposition to the killing of whales around the world, none of the 80 species are threatened with extinction. The JWA argues that for decades whales have been killed by native populations like those from the island nations for food and medicinal purposes.
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