One of the last countries on Earth to still hunt whales, Japan, is considering withdrawing from the International Whaling Commission.
[social_buttons]Japanese Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Masahiko Yamada said Tuesday that, unless an international ban on commercial whaling is eased, Japan could withdraw from the IWC, the international body that regulates whaling.
The IWC are gathering for its annual meeting next week in Agadir, Morocco, and many believe the meeting will seek to find a compromise between pro- and anti-whaling countries, including the possibility of allowing commercial whaling on a limited scale.
“I am considering various options,” Yamada said on Tuesday regarding whether his country would withdraw from the IWC. “This is really the final stage, and we’re not sure how things are going to turn out.”
This is not the first time Japan has threatened to pull out of the IWC, time and time again unhappy with the bans and moratoriums on whaling imposed on them by the commission. Japan are only now managing to hunt whales under the guise of research, though many have questioned the legitimacy of this claim.
“This is one of the most important meetings of the IWC in the last 30 years. It is my sincere hope that all member nations come to this meeting determined to break the gridlock that has been a hallmark of the Commission for so long,” Australian Environment Minister Peter Garrett said in response to Yamada’s claim that he would not be attending the meeting, citing budget concerns. An official from Japan’s foreign ministry said that his country had not decided who would be representing Japan at the meeting.
Both Australia and New Zealand have called a proposed whaling quote system unacceptable, and have repeatedly called for an end to Japan’s hunt for whales in Antarctic waters. Australia has even taken it so far as to take Japan to the International Court of Justice in an attempt to Japanese whaling for scientific research purposes, believing it is just a cover for commercial whaling.
Image Source: Photograph created by Erik Christensen