Whaling

Australian Customs and Border Protection Service / CC-BY-SA-3.0 / Wikimedia Commons

Amid ceremony and fanfare, commercial whaling ships left Japanese ports yesterday for the first time in 33 years.

Australian Customs and Border Protection Service / CC-BY-SA-3.0 / Wikimedia Commons

Japan’s decision to leave the International Whaling Commission and resume commercial whaling drew swift criticism from conservation groups, and some said Japan is now a “pirate nation.”

Wikimedia Commons

At a meeting of the International Whaling Commission in Brazil today, Japan will propose a series of changes to effectively lift the worldwide ban on commercial whaling. The moratorium took effect in 1985.

Wikipedia Commons
Wikipedia Commons

After a break of more than a year, Japanese whaling ships are heading to the Antarctic.  The move faces international opposition, but Japan says it’s made changes to the program.  HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

For years, Japan has argued that its whaling operations are a matter of scientific research…although it admits that hundreds of whales are killed as part of the process.  Australia and New Zealand challenged the legality of the hunts and last year; the International Court of Justice ruled they were not “for the purposes of scientific research.”