Thursday, June 9, 2016

European Parliament calls on Japan to end whale hunting

Members of European Parliament (MEPs) gathered for a plenary session in Strasbourg, pressing on Wednesday for the European Council and the European Commission to condemn the decision by Japan to resume whale hunting and to catch 333 small rorqual whales during the 2015-2016 season.

The International Court of Justice (ICJ), which had ordered Japan in 2014 to stop the "annual massacre of whales in the Antarctic Ocean," concluded that the country's whale hunting activities "are not practiced for the purpose of scientific research" - contrary to indications from Tokyo - claimed the European Parliament.

Brought to court in 2010 by Australia with the support of New Zealand, the highest judicial organ of the United Nations (UN) has indeed recognized that the Jarpa II research program (Japanese Whale Research Program under Special Permit in the Antarctic), only met with commercial, not scientific, standards.

Despite the CIJ order, the Japanese Fisheries Agency informed the International Whaling Commission that it would resume whale hunting within the framework of a new plan.

This program, which extends over 12 years, would authorize the hunting of 333 small rorqual whales in the course of the 2015-2016 season, and a total of 4,000 whales throughout the full duration of the plan.

Numerous environmental and animal defense associations have severely condemned Japanese policy on whale hunting.

The NGO Sea Shepherd has judged, for example, that "so long as there is not oppositional force present to force the application of law, Japan will continue to violate the decisions of the CIJ."

Commercial whaling has been prohibited since 1986 by the International Court of Justice.

A year after the entry into force of this international moratorium, Japan began, in 1987, what it called "scientific whale fishing." 
 [Xinhua -]

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