Japan to resume commercial whaling after leaving IWC

23 December, 2018, 15:54 | Author: Dwayne Harmon
  • Crew members measure a minke whale caught during research whaling

Japan is considering pulling out of the International Whaling Commission (IWC), officials told AFP on Thursday, as Tokyo reportedly gears up to resume commercial whaling activity next year.

Japan will tell the IWC of its decision by the end of the year, Kyodo news agency said, months after the body rejected its latest bid to resume commercial whaling.

Most recently, its proposal to ease the IWC's decision-making rules was also voted down in an annual meeting in September, and Tokyo issued a veiled warning of a potential pullout.

The country can not continue to hunt whales for research once they withdraw from the IWC.

"This is the path of a pirate whaling nation, with a troubling disregard for global rule". Greenpeace urged the government to reconsider the decision that the non-governmental organization called a "grave mistake".

The group said it fears Japan may "recruit other pro-whaling nations to leave the IWC, leading to a new chapter of widespread and unauthorized killing of whales for profit".

It is extremely rare for Japan to withdraw from an worldwide organisation and the withdrawal could spark criticism from anti-whaling countries.

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That led to the Japanese State Fisheries Minister, Masaaki Taniani announcing Japan might review its membership of the IWC.

In the past, the country also threatened to step out of the International Whaling Commission. This past spring, Japan faced pushback after it came to light that Japanese whalers had killed 333 Antarctic minke whales, including 122 pregnant whales and 114 calves, during the summer of 2017, Live Science previously reported.

Under IWC rules, a withdrawal decision becomes effective, in principle, on June 30 following notification to the commission by the previous Jan 1.

But critics say they doubt if a country with an aging and shrinking population can develop a sustainable whaling industry if it returns to commercial hunts.

Slooten described the IWC, in its current form, as a "halfway house" that manages whaling and whale conservation, but is dominated by a "very narrow-minded approach to how to interact with whales".

2015 - Japan resumes research whaling in the Antarctic by reducing the number of whales it hunts.

Japan cut back on its catch after a 2014 worldwide court ruling.

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