Australia Claims Victory Against Japanese Whaling in the Antarctic, UN Court Bans Issuance of Whaling Permit

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By Reissa Su | April 1, 2014 1:47 PM EST

Australia has claimed victory against Japan's whaling program as the International Court of Justice backed the landmark case. The country demanded Japan to stop catching and killing whales in the Southern Ocean.

Reuters
Handout picture of water canon being sprayed from Japanese whaling ship towards small Sea Shepherd boat off the coast of Antarctica. June 14, 2013. REUTERS

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However, since Japan's whaling in the North Pacific was not part of the international case, it will be allowed to continue. The Japanese delegation spokesman, Nori Shikata, has suggested at The Hague that his country will still continue its whaling program. 

Mr Shikata talked to ABC Radio and revealed that Japan's Northern Pacific program is not covered by the legal challenge of Australia. Japan has two separate whaling programs and the one questioned in the case is the one in Antarctica. Japan has earlier expressed its intention to abide by the "world court" judgment should it support Australia's case.

Mr Shikata believes Australia did not include Japan's Northern Pacific program in the case. He said Japan was "deeply disappointed and regrets" the UN court's verdict. The Japanese authorities will also look into the "lengthy" ruling. As for the next step, Mr Shikata said Japan will need to study the recent court judgment.

Executive Director of Sea Shepherd Global Captain Alex Cornelissen praised the victory of Australia against Japanese whaling in the Southern Ocean but promised that the anti-whaling organisation will continue its campaign in other regions.

Captain Cornelissen said the Southern Ocean whale sanctuary will be safe from Japan's whaling program. He said Sea Shepherd will wait and see what Japan will do in other areas such as the annual Northern whaling hunt every July and August.

Shadow Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus, who represented Australia in the International Court of Justice, said he did not want to say anything about the implications of the case in other known areas of Japanese whaling in the Northern Pacific.

Mr Dreyfus suggested that Japan can collaborate with Australia to research about whales using non-lethal means. He called on Japan to not resort to killing whales for the sake of science.

The ruling that would ban whaling in the Antarctic may put the pressure on Norway and Iceland, according to Mr Dreyfus.

The presiding judge on the landmark whaling case Peter Tomka from Slovakia said Japan had failed to support its argument on taking a large number of minke whales for its "research" program while neglecting to meet its targets for humpback and fin whales.  The United Nations has issued a ban on whaling permits until the Japanese program has been changed.

Australia has won the case against Japanese whaling with 12 votes to four. The court said Japan has not complied with its obligations under the international whaling convention. 

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(Photo: Reuters / )
Handout picture of water canon being sprayed from Japanese whaling ship towards small Sea Shepherd boat off the coast of Antarctica. June 14, 2013. REUTERS
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