New Zealand is leading the way in developing a plan to end the bid of Japanese whalers from hunting in Antarctic waters. The Kiwi government has urged the International Whaling Commission (IWC) to implement a strict approval of "scientific permits" to delay Japan's next whaling operation in late 2015.
New Zealand's proposal will be presented to the IWC in a September meeting. Reports said Japan is expected to oppose the plan since it has already expressed its intention to continue whaling in the Southern Ocean after 18 months.
The New Zealand government intervened in the case heard in the International Court of Justice filed by Australia. The UN high court had outlawed Japan's "scientific" whaling campaign because it did not meet the standards of the global moratorium on commercial whaling.
Since the ruling, Australia has not said anything more about the case. When Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited Australia, Prime Minister Tony Abbott only said he didn't agree with Japan's whaling practices.
New Zealand Prime Minister John Key has directly addressed Mr Abe when he visited Auckland. Mr Key told the Japanese leader that New Zealand does not tolerate whaling.
In a draft resolution prepared by New Zealand, the country calls for the IWC to not release special permits for whaling. The IWC scientific committee is expected to meet in the middle of 2015. The IWC commission is composed of 88-member nations. If New Zealand's proposal is approved, Japan's whaling operation may be prevented until 2016.
The Japanese government has submitted a new schedule for another whaling operation. It is expected to submit a proposal by November for committee review.
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Australian Environment Minister Greg Hunt said the country will consider New Zealand's IWC draft resolution.
Japan's Fisheries Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi said the whaling fleet and its harpoon ships plan to head south in the 2014-2015 summer. The fleet will reportedly "count whales" and not kill them. Australia's Sea Shepherd activists have promised to track the Japanese whalers as they set out to sea.