Japan considers leaving IWC to resume commercial whale hunts

Japan to withdraw from IWC to resume commercial whaling: reports

Japan to withdraw from IWC to resume commercial whaling: reports

Anti-whaling groups have expressed concern after reports Japan is considering withdrawing from the International Whaling Commission to resume commercial whaling. Japan is expected to give its final decision on the matter as early as next week, according to Kyodo News.

At an IWC general meeting held in September in Brazil, Japan proposed commercial whaling be partially resumed.

The moratorium on commercial whaling has been in force since 1986.

Currently, four countries - Iceland, Norway, Canada and Indonesia - conduct commercial whaling of 13 species covered by the IWC moratorium, including blue whales.

Japanese want to be able to hunt whales again.

Japan insists whale stocks have now recovered sufficiently to allow commercial hunting to resume. In contrast, the IUCN lists the Antarctic minke whale (B. bonaerensis) as "near threatened".

By withdrawing from the worldwide commission, Japan would give up its right to "research" whaling in global waters but could make up for it with open commercial whaling in its own exclusive economic zone.

Slooten described the IWC, in its current form, as a "halfway house" that manages whaling and whale conservation, but is dominated by a "very narrow-minded approach to how to interact with whales".

"There are fishermen in Japan making their living by whaling and we can't simply end it", an anonymous government official told Kyodo.

However, another fisheries agency official said that Japan has no intention of withdrawing from the IWC.

But Masayuki Komatsu, a former fisheries official who represented Japan at IWC, questioned if Japan gains anything from withdrawing. However, as Lucy Craft reported for NPR in 2010, "Japan's whaling rhetoric is rooted in national pride and the need to fend off what is seen here as the high-handedness of Western nations".

Darren Kindleysides, CEO of the Australian Marine Conservation Society, said Japan would have "turned its back on the worldwide community" should it follow through with its plans to withdraw. "We hope that Japan will reverse its decision and take its place beside the nations trying to undo the damage human activities have done to whale populations".

Japan has long towed the line with the IWC, which was established in 1948.

1951 - Japan joins the IWC.

Recommended News

We are pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news.
Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper.
Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.