UN Court Puts Kibosh on Japan's Whale Hunt

Finds JARPA II is 'not scientific'

By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff

Posted Mar 31, 2014 6:09 AM CDT

(Newser) – Australia 1, Japan 0: The UN's International Court of Justice today ruled that Japan's whaling program, which it has long claimed is for scientific purposes, is just a cloak for commercial whaling, the BBC reports, in a case that Australia brought about back in 2010. The 16-judge panel ordered a temporary halt to the program—which kills around 1,000 whales a year—until it is revised, the Sydney Morning Herald adds. Australia "has politicized science in order to impose Australian values on Japan in disregard for international law," Japan's counsel had argued.

In announcing the decision, ICJ Judge Peter Tomka said Japan's program was "not driven by scientific considerations," and "there is no evidence that Japan conducted research into how non-lethal methods could be used to achieve its stated research objectives," the Guardian reports. Though commercial whaling was banned in 1986, the meat from Japan's whaling venture, known as JARPA II, is sold commercially. The AP notes Norway and Iceland are among those to still hunt whales, despite the commercial ban.

Judge Peter Tomka, center, president of the International Court of Justice, delivers its verdict in The Hague, Netherlands, Monday March 31, 2014.   (AP Photo/Phil Nijhuis)
In this March 25, 2011 photo, a woman walks by Japan's whaling ship Nisshin Maru moored at a port in Tokyo.   (AP Photo/Itsuo Inuye)
In this file photo taken on Sunday, Jan. 5, 2014, three dead minke whales lie on the deck of the Japanese whaling vessel Nisshin Maru, in the Southern Ocean.   (AP Photo/Tim Watters, Sea Shepherd Australia)
In this September 2013 photo, a minke whale is unloaded at a port in Kushiro, in the northernmost main island of Hokkaido.   (AP Photo/Kyodo News)
In this March 27, 2014 file photo, a shopper walks past a whale meat specialty store at Tokyo's Ameyoko shopping district.   (AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi, File)
In this Feb. 8, 2009 file photo, workers measure a captured mink whale on the deck of Japanese whaling ship, the Nisshin Maru, in the Ross Sea, off Antarctica.   (AP Photo/The Institute of Cetacean Research, File)
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