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Walfang in Japan 26. April 2014
Image: KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP/Getty Images

Increased scrutiny for Japanese whaling

September 18, 2014

Countries at an international whaling conference have voted against Japan's plans to resume scientific whaling, and increase their scrutiny of the controversial practice. Japan plans to go ahead despite the backlash.


Nations meeting on the closing day of the International Whaling Commission's (IWC) meeting in Portoroz, Slovenia agreed to tighten the review process over Japan's whaling program.

In a 35-20 vote, with five abstentions, the nations said Japan should abide by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruling that found Japan's government-sanctioned whaling to be illegal because it is not for scientific purposes.

Thursday's meeting IWC meeting was the first since the ruling by the UN's highest court in March.

Immediately after the IWC's resolution was adopted, Japan said it would begin a new "scientific" whale hunting program in the Antarctic in 2015.

The IWC's scientific committee investigates all proposals for scientific whaling, but Japan does not require its approval to conduct its own missions.

Japan killed more than 250 minke whales in the Antarctic during the 2013-14 season, and 103 the year before that. It also killed 132 whales on "scientific" hunts in 2013 in the Pacific Northwest, and 92 off the Japanese coast.

Countries voting in favor of Thursday's resolution included Britain, the United States, Australia, Brazil, Mexico and New Zealand. Along with Japan, those against it included Russia, Cambodia, Colombia, Guinea and Iceland, which also conducts whaling missions.

dr/sb (AFP, AP)

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