Saturday 06 August 2011

Is Japan having second thoughts?

News items in the Japanese press indicate that the Fisheries Agency of Japan (FAJ) have recently given some consideration to decreasing or even ending its lethal “scientific” whaling in the Antarctic. For the time being however, the whaling policy of Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries remains unchanged.

It is possible that the Japanese Government has been compelled to review its position on its Antarctic whaling program as it prepares its case in response to the action brought against it by Australia in the International Court of Justice [see article 12.01.2011]. Australia presented its case at the ICJ in the Hague on 9 May this year and Japan must submit its official response by 9 March 2012.

In the meantime it appears that little will change in the short term. The Japanese media has also reported that the FAJ has recently had discussions with the Japan Coast Guard about the possibility of a JCG vessel accompanying the Japanese whaling fleet when it sails to the Antarctic in November, no doubt as a countermeasure to the interventions of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.


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