In a move that will undoubtedly spark a fresh round of diplomatic tension and international outrage, Japan has revealed that it intends to bypass a United Nations ban on the slaughter of whales in the Antarctic with a new, scaled-down “scientific program” that limits the catch to minke whales.
Whaling for the sake of research is exempt from the 1986 international ban in commercial whaling, and Japan has conducted numerous whale hunts in the Pacific and Antarctic oceans on that basis. However, the International Court of Justice ruled back in March that the Antarctic program wasn’t scientific as Japan had claimed and must stop.
Japan’s Fisheries Agency is working on a revised program which will be submitted to the International Whaling Commission’s scientific committee sometime in November. The new program will address the problems that have been cited by the court, according to an agency official who wished to remain anonymous.
While Japan isn’t required to have the International Court of Justice’s approval to conduct the hunts, any attempt by the country to resume whaling would almost certainly face intense scrutiny over whether it complies with the court ruling. According to the anonymous official, Japan will be heading to the Arctic later this year for non-lethal research.
Read more about the story at Discovery.