Japan’s whaling needs scrutiny

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The slaughter of whales by Japanese whalers needs to be brought under international scrutiny, the Australian Opposition foreign affairs spokesman Kevin Rudd says.

Mr Rudd has called for Japan to be brought before the International Court of Justice because diplomacy appeared to have fallen on deaf ears.

Japan is seeking to double its scientific whaling program’s kill count at an International Whaling Commission (IWC) meeting in Korea next month.

If approved the proposal would allow Japan to harvest an extra 400 whales a year.

On Friday Mr Rudd said Japan should not be able to use the “fig leaf” of scientific research to justify the slaughter of whales, including in the Australian Whale Sanctuary.

Labor was concerned the scientific research exemption under the International Whaling Convention provided an opportunity for Japanese whalers to flout the ban on commercial whaling, he added.

“We say therefore, let’s not just bring the state of whaling in the Australian Antarctic territory waters under appropriate legal scrutiny, with appropriate

“Let’s take the entire Japanese scientific whaling regime worldwide (and) put it under scrutiny before the International Court of Justice.

“How can it be that you argue a case that we need, as Japan, a scientific exemption from the international ban on whaling and still find whale meat commercially for sale in Japan?”

Labor believed there would be a strong case under international law that Japan was not meeting its obligations under the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling 1946, Mr Rudd said.

“A friendship with Japan, a strong commercial relationship with Japan should not stand in the way of Australia doing the right thing in terms of the conservation of the planet’s whale population,” he said.

Source: The Age