Japan Vows to Resume Whaling for “Science”

Earlier this year whales won a historic victory when the International Court of Justice ruled that Japan’s scientific whaling program in the Antarctic was illegal and ordered it be ended, but Japan is back at it with plans to continue under a new proposal.

Despite a worldwide moratorium on commercial whaling that was put in place in 1986, Japan has continued with annual whale hunts that it claims are being conducted to collect scientific data. Whale advocates, however, have long argued that Japan has been abusing a loophole in the moratorium that allows for lethal scientific research whaling.

Fortunately for whales, the court agreed, ruling that Japan’s program breached international law, had no justifications for the quotas it was setting and that it had failed to consider non-lethal alternatives under it’s JARPA II research program.

While Japan initially said it would respect the ruling, some feared the country would come back with a new proposal and last week those fears were confirmed when the Ministry of Agriculture, Forests and Fisheries submitted a new proposal to continue it’s “scientific” whaling program in the Antarctic.

Joji Morishita, the head of Tokyo’s delegation to the International Whaling Commission, said Japan would defy “eco-imperialist” anti-whaling nations and resume the slaughter next year.

Under the new plan, called NEWREP-A, Japan will leave humpback and fin whales alone, but will still target minke whales and has plans to kill 333 annually over the next 12 years. Even though that number is far lower than previous quotas set, Whale and Dolphin Conservation and other conservation organizations point out that Japan hasn’t caught more than 300 of them each year, so the numbers actually mean more will be slaughtered.

Under the new plan, Japan also tries to justify the need to continue killing in the name of “research,” saying:

 After giving serious scientific consideration, it has been concluded that age data at the annual scale can be obtained only through lethal sampling methods, and thus lethal methods need to be employed under this program.

Not only that, but this time it also intends to hugely expand the territory it operates in, with the new area overlapping with the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary, which was created in 1994 to protect whales and provide them with a refuge.

Now conservation and whale advocacy groups are condemning Japan’s actions, calling it more of the same. Patrick Ramage, Global Whale Programme Director for the International Fund for Animal Welfare stated:

“Japan’s approach seems to be ‘ready, fire, aim!’ Days after the World Court ruling, Japan announced it would keep killing whales on the high seas. Then it spent months straining to develop a plan that would justify that whaling. Now it announces plans to actually expand an Antarctic hunt for whales that nobody needs. If Japan really wants to study whales for science it should join the IWC-supported, multi-national, non-lethal Southern Ocean Research Programme, which produces valuable data from studying living whales in their marine environment rather than slaughtering them.”

The International Whaling Commission is expected to rule later this year on whether the new plan is scientifically valid, but the organization still doesn’t have the power to stop it from moving forward.

Photo credit: Thinkstock


Jim Ven
Jim V3 years ago

thanks for the article.

Mark Donners
Mark D3 years ago

In Japan millions of morally bankrupt people move in herds and feel they have no option but to nearly commit suicide if they question or deviate or are fired from the herd. As a herd they are "noble" or "loyal" but this is a sham since as individuals they are weak, depraved, apathetic and crippled. There can be no individuality or personal strength in Japan and other Asian sorry excuses for humanity except what they derive from the mindless group. This is the sickness of Asia.. if their group (corporation, government, etc) commits criminal acts such as Japan's criminal poaching of the world's whales, the horrors it inflicts on dolphins, Japan and China's crime syndicates smuggling ivory, etc. there is nobody around who has any individuality or moral strength to question it.

Jennifer H.
Jennifer H4 years ago

Japan had no intention of stopping their whaling and the world knows it is not for bloody research. Instead of concentrating on killing all the whales and dolphins in the ocean they should set their minds to cleaning up their other cluster of screw ups poisoning the ocean. Besides, Mary L. is right. They have tons and tons of "research" in cold storages that they can't get rid of. The money that was given them for Tsunami repairs went to increasing their whaling fleet so there was no way they were going to let that set.

Dianne D.
Dianne D4 years ago

Curses on them. Hope the young people speak up against this.

Bonnie Bowen
Bonnie Bowen4 years ago


sonia b.
sonia b4 years ago

o mundo não vai permitir isso .já foi essa fase.

animais são nossos parentes

Mary L.
Mary L4 years ago

It makes no sense. They can't sell all the "research" they already have. Signed!

Mandy H.
Mandy H4 years ago

It's so frustrating because it's so unnecessary for Japan to be going around hunting whales and the fact that they plan to enter a refuge is even more disgusting!

Isabel d.
Isabel d4 years ago


boyd hore
boyd h4 years ago