TOKYO: Japan vowed on Friday to resume its whaling programme in the Antarctic despite passage of a resolution opposing its hunt by the international body that oversees whales, terming the negative vote regrettable.
The International Whaling Commission (IWC) on Thursday adopted a resolution saying that Japan should abide by a ruling by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) earlier this year that its decades-old and disputed “scientific whaling” programme was illegal and should stop.
The surprise March ruling by the ICJ was a blow to Japan, which maintains that whaling is an important part of its culture, and prompted it to call off its 2014-2015 hunt in the Southern Ocean.It still carried out a scaled-down version of its less known Northern Pacific hunt.
Participants at the IWC’s biennial meeting in Slovenia passed the non-binding resolution by a 35-20 majority, a move that Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said was “extremely regrettable.”
“We are now carrying out preparations for new plan for scientific whaling to resume in the 2015/2016 year, a plan that takes the International Court ruling into account,” he said.
“Our actions are based on international law, scientific fact and the international whaling treaty.”
Though anti-whaling nations say the IWC should be acting to conserve whales, Japan and its allies argue that it was set up to manage whales as a resource.