Japan flouts international whaling law despite new Security Council seat: Japanese whaler to face Federal Court in Sydney on November 18th
Japan has once again flouted international law by declaring that the International Court of Justice (ICJ) does not have jurisdiction over its whaling activities. At the same time, Japan is highlighting its intention to cooperate internationally and uphold principles of international law through its new position as a member of the Security Council.
The ICJ’s 2014 decision found that Japan’s whaling activities were in fact illegal and not legitimately scientific. Originally respecting the court’s ruling, Japan did not go back to whaling in the Southern Oceans but tried to revise its whaling program to comply with the court’s judgment. After these revisions were dismissed by the International Whaling Commission’s independent review panel, Japan now realises that the only strategy left to them is to dispute the court judgment. It appears likely that we will now see Japan return to the Southern Oceans at the end of the year.
HSI Director Michael Kennedy said, “It is disingenuous of Japan to, on the one hand signal it intends to work with the international community by taking a prestigious position on the Security Council, and on the other declare that it doesn’t recognise the jurisdiction of the ICJ and its 2014 ruling.”
“Nations should not pick and choose which international laws they obey, and that is surely a principle which Japan will promote as a member of the Security Council as it votes on international security and peace-keeping matters.”
“The fact that Japan has said that it will not submit to ICJ jurisdiction for further disputes means that political action is more vital than ever before. We urge the Australian Government to continue to place pressure on Japan and specifically, we urge the Prime Minister to raise this issue in person with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe when they meet in Japan in December.”
Mr Kennedy concluded, “HSI is continuing to highlight Japan’s breaches of international and national law, with contempt of court proceedings afoot in the Federal Court against a Japanese whaling company. It is alleged that this company disregarded an injunction granted by the Federal Court by killing whales in the Australian Whale Sanctuary. The first hearing will be on November the 18th in Sydney. It is important that the Australian Government does all that it can at this very urgent time to prevent Japan from returning to the Southern Oceans.”