The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

By Carol J. Williams, Los Angeles Times (TNS)

Japan informed the International Whaling Commission on Tuesday that it intended to resume hunting whales for scientific research next year, a move that conservationists called a defiance of the International Court of Justice ruling that Japan’s whale kills are illegal.

Since the commission invoked a moratorium on commercial whaling in 1986, Japan had been claiming an exception to the ban that allows whaling for scientific purposes and had set quotas of 1,035 kills in each of the last few years.

The International Court of Justice ruled in March that Japan’s failure to publish results from its purported research demonstrated that its claim of science-related whaling was a cover for banned commercial hunting and ordered a halt.

In the revised program submitted to the commission on Tuesday, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries cut its catch quota to 333 minke whales and said it would no longer hunt the more limited pods of fin and humpback whales.

Joji Morishita, Japan’s whaling commissioner, said research findings would be published in the future to comply with the terms of the moratorium exceptions.

“All these activities, as we have been arguing, are perfectly in line with international law, a scientific basis, as well as ICJ judgment language,” he told the whaling commission, asserting that Japan’s new program to start in late 2015 will be responsive to the court order.

The challenge to Japan’s whaling program was brought in 2010 by Australia. The international court, in the Netherlands, ruled that there was no scientific basis for Japan’s quotas, nor was there sufficient published findings of its research to justify the size of the projected annual catch.

Conservationists said nothing has changed with the plan submitted by Tokyo on Tuesday.

“Japan’s new whaling proposal for the southern ocean sanctuary is neither new nor improved,” said Kitty Block, vice president of Humane Society International. “Despite the ICJ decision condemning the nation’s so-called scientific program, Japan is still trying to explain the inexplicable and defend the indefensible. The hunt is for commercial purposes — not science.”

Although Japan set catch quotas of 935 minke whales and 50 each of fin and humpbacks, its annual captures have been significantly lower in recent years due to declining demand for whale meat and increasing intervention by protesters such as the Sea Shepherd group. In 2012, Japan caught 103 minke whales and last year its catch was 251, the Japan Times reported.

Japanese whalers were ordered to suspend operations after the court order, although they plan a nonlethal hunt in spring.

Tokyo doesn’t require approval by the International Whaling Commission to resume its lethal hunt, and it was unclear whether Australia would make any legal challenge. Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who was elected last year, has drawn fire for weakening his country’s environmental commitments with expanded mining and logging.

Photo via WikiCommons

Start your day with National Memo Newsletter

Know first.

The opinions that matter. Delivered to your inbox every morning

President Joe Biden

As the nation's political press obsesses over the fate of the administration's Build Back Better proposal, nothing less than the ultimate success or failure of Joe Biden's presidency is said to be at stake. And yet here's the great paradox: taken separately, the elements of the Democrats' social spending proposals poll extremely well.

According to a recent CBS News poll, support for federal funding to reduce prescription drug prices is favored by 88 percent of American voters. Adding Medicare coverage of dental, eye and hearing polls at 84 percent. Another 73 percent back expanding paid family and medical leave. And 67 percent think that universal pre-kindergarten programs for three and four year olds are a good idea.

Keep reading... Show less

Dr. Anthony Fauci

By Humeyra Pamuk

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Vaccines for kids between the ages of 5 and 11 will likely be available in the first half of November, top U.S. infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci said on Sunday, predicting a timetable that could see many kids getting fully vaccinated before the end of the year.

Keep reading... Show less
{{ }}