Australia-Japan Dispute over Whaling

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The International Court of Justice (ICJ) will decide on Australia’s long awaited case against Japan on whaling starting tomorrow in the Netherlands.

After six years, Australia’s government will finally ask the court to prohibit Japan from hunting whales in the Southern Ocean.


Australia is convinced that the ICJ judges will order Japan to drop its JARPA II research program and cancel its permit to hunt whales in the area, the Guardian Newspaper said.

In 1986, commercial whaling was prohibited by the International Whaling Commission (IWC) but Japan is still able to hunt about 1,000 whales yearly in the Antarctic through a special license approved for scientific research.

Australia and whale conservation organizations have been against Japan’s permit for some time. They believe the license is a mask used for commercial whaling. Japan, however, will defend its whaling program.

With its research license, Japan is able to keep and trade whale meat. Despite the reduction in whale meat consumption and rising condemnations of its programs’ expenses, the country is maintaining its stance in The Hague.