Japan is planning to seek the approval of the International Court of Justice to resume hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean next year. Japan had been banned by the ICJ from whale hunting following investigations that the nation had flouted international conventions on commercial whaling. There is a 1986 international ban on commercial whaling, but Japan had continued in international whaling on the grounds that it is for research purposes – of which this is exempted from the ban.
Japan has stated that it has revised its program on international whaling operations, and it is willing to adhere to the ruling of the ICJ on whaling – but only seeks to be granted approval to engage in whaling for research purposes only – to which the ICJ had earlier banned it because there was little proof that the nation actually killed whales for research purposes only. Japan is not actually bound to adhere to the ICJ’s ruling, but not doing so will cast the nation in a bad light.
Japan seeks to be granted approval to hunt Minke whales in the Antarctic Ocean as from next year, and it actually plans to stop hunting humpback and fin whales because it hadn’t caught any for several years now. Japan has mandate to capture some kinds of whales but it has been catching less than the stated quota. Moreover, the nation had to minimize whaling in international waters when protest groups like the Sea Shepherd started protesting the killing of whales. The government also reconsidered its stance on whales hunting when it was accused by pressure groups that it was spending taxpayers’ money unfairly to finance whale killing efforts; and also when the demand for whale meat went down everywhere within the country.