The Strategist

Japan to resume killing whales

12/27/2018 - 11:50

Japan decided to withdraw from the International Whaling Commission (IWC) in 2019 in order to resume whaling from July, Secretary-General of the Japanese Cabinet Yoshihide Suga said at a briefing in Tokyo.

Whit Welles
Whit Welles
Earlier, Japan announced its withdrawal from the International Commission on Whaling, said a source in the Japanese government. According to him, this way the country will be able to catch whales in its internal waters, where now whales are harvested only “for scientific purposes.”

"We will not hunt in the waters of the Antarctic or in the southern hemisphere," - the source confirmed.

With the release of IWC, Japan joins two other major whaling states, Iceland and Norway, which openly advocate for the resolution of whale hunting.

The first to respond to the news was Greenpeace, which criticized the decision of the Japanese government.

“By this decision, Japan moves away from the whole world. This step also hinders efforts to protect the oceans and “these majestic creatures,” said Sam Annesley, head of Greenpeace Japan.

However, if Japan notifies IWC of its decision on January 1, then formally it will leave the commission on June 30.

Official Tokyo states that some whale species have recovered to such an extent that it is possible to resume whaling without compromising their population.

At the same time, Japan is a party to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, which calls for the conservation of marine resources through international organizations. The convention adopted in 1946, in particular, states that "states cooperate to protect marine mammals stocks, and in relation to cetaceans, they carry out, in particular, activities through appropriate international organizations to protect, manage and study their stocks."

Japanese government spokesman Yoshihide Suga said on Wednesday, December 26, that at the organization’s annual meeting there were no “concessions” from the countries opposing killing of whales. Therefore, being in IWC for Tokyo is no longer possible.

It clarifies that with the release of IWC, Japan will not be able to study whales in the Antarctic, which it has continued by limited catch of these animals since 1987, using a gap in the agreement that allows catching of whales for research purposes.

Tokyo claimed to have caught whales for scientific purposes; however, the meat of the dead animals was then eaten.

The Japanese government has repeatedly stated that eating whale meat is a national tradition. After World War II, whale meat was an important source of protein for the impoverished population. In the 1960s, about 200,000 tons of whale meat were consumed annually in the country. However, in recent decades, the consumption of whale meat has decreased dramatically.