The International Court of Justice sided with plaintiff
Australia in finding that the scientific output of the whaling
program was modest in comparison with the number of whales
It said no further scientific whaling licenses should be issued.
"In light of the fact the JARPA II (research program) has been
going on since 2005, and has involved the killing of about 3,600
minke whales, the scientific output to date appears limited,"
Presiding Judge Peter Tomka of Slovakia said.
Japan signed a 1986 moratorium on whaling, but has continued to
hunt up to 850 minke whales in the icy waters of the Southern
Ocean each year, citing a 1946 treaty that permits killing the
giant mammals for research.
Whaling was once widespread around the world, but Japan is now
one of only a handful of countries that continues the practice.
The meat is popular with Japanese consumers who consider it a
Judges agreed with Australia that the research — two peer
reviewed papers since 2005, based on results obtained from just
nine killed whales — was not proportionate to the number of
While the judgment is an embarrassment to Japan, which has
committed to abide by the court's ruling, Tokyo is free to
continue whaling if it withdraws from the 1986 moratorium or the
1946 International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling.
"All eyes are now on Japan to respect this decision," the
London-based World Society for the Protection of Animals said in
a statement. "This decision sends a clear message to governments
around the world that the exploitation of animals will no longer
be tolerated and animals must be protected at the highest level.
(Reporting by Thomas Escritt; editing by Anthony Deutsch and
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