Tokyo, December 26: On Wednesday, Japan announced that it would leave the International Whaling Commission, so it could resume commercial hunting in their territorial waters. For many years, Japan has hunted whales for what they call ‘scientific research’ and to sell and eat whale meat which is considered a part of the country’s culture. This move has sparked criticism from activists and anti-whaling countries including Australia. The announcement also comes after Japan failed earlier this year to convince the IWC to allow it to resume commercial whaling, as reported by CBS. Japanese Hunters Kill 120 Pregnant Whales, 114 Babies For 'Scientific Research'.
Yoshihide Suga, Japan’s chief cabinet secretary, said in a statement that the commercial hunts would be limited to Japan’s territorial waters and will resume from July 2019. Mr Suga added saying, “in its long history, Japan has used whales not only as a source of protein but also for a variety of other purposes. Engagement in whaling has been supporting local communities and thereby developed the life and culture of using whales.” Whaling has always been despised by the conservationists trying to protect the majestic mammals. Dead Baby Blue Whale Washes Ashore on Kamakura Beach in Japan.
Australia’s government said it was ‘extremely disappointed’ by the decision and urged Japan to reconsider, according to a joint statement by Marise Payne, the minister of foreign affairs and Melissa Price, the minister for the environment. The ministers said, “Australia remains resolutely opposed to all forms of commercial and so-called ‘scientific’ whaling. We will continue to work within the commission to uphold the global moratorium on commercial whaling.” But they did welcome Japan’s exit from the Antarctic and the Australian Whale Sanctuary.
Paul Watson, founder of Sea Shepherd, an environmentalist group also considered it as good news. From 2005 Sea Shepherd has been using its own ships to try to interfere with Japan’s whaling in the Antarctic. He said, “This means that Japan is now openly declaring their illegal whaling activities. No more pretence of research whaling. With this announcement, Japan has declared themselves as a pirate whaling nation.”