March 31, 2014

FROM JAPAN TIMES Japanese ex-dolphin hunter says slaughter is not centuries-old tradition/NATIONAL Japan’s antarctic whale hunts not scientific: ICJ U.N. sides with Australia, orders Japan to halt annual catches

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◎Japanese ex-dolphin hunter says slaughter is not centuries-old tradition 

     3.17.2014 Japan times

◎Japan’s antarctic whale hunts not scientific: ICJ

     U.N. sides with Australia, orders Japan to halt annual catches

     3.31.2014 Japan times 
◎The Whales Have Won! — ICJ Rules Japan’s Southern Ocean Whaling ‘Not For Scientific Research’
Japan accepts UN whaling ruling 
A Whale of a Ruling
Success! Japan’s Scientific Whaling Program Has to Stop, Rules World Court

Japanese whaling town butchers 30ft long whale

Japanese whalers went back to their centuries-old tradition of hunting whales on Thursday, carving a 30ft long whale for school children


Japanese whalers went back to their centuries-old tradition of hunting whales on Thursday, carving a 30ft long whale for school children.

Workers in a coastal town can be seen carving up one of the animals as a crowd of students stood round, with free samples of its fried meat handed out later.

Children from two local elementary schools, on a field trip, watched as workers from a whaling company butchered the whale.

The annual event took place in the town of Wada, south of Tokyo, a week into Japan's first coastal whaling season since a global court halted the country's better known Antarctic whaling in March.

Though environmentalists condemn whaling, Japan maintains that it's an important part of its food heritage.

Dolphin activist and former Flipper trainer Ric O'Barry joins hands Friday with his former rival, ex-dolphin hunter Izumi Ishii, as they team up for a joint presentation to a group of Japanese and foreign residents at Temple University in Tokyo. | BOYD HARNELL

Dolphin activist and former Flipper trainer Ric O’Barry joined hands with his former rival, ex-dolphin hunter Izumi Ishii, as both disputed the government’s stance that drive hunting is a national cultural practice spanning hundreds of years.

Ishii stressed that his mentors in Futo, Shizuoka Prefecture, taught the Taiji fishermen how to conduct dolphin drives in 1969. He said he believes this was the first time such drive fisheries were conducted in Japan.

Ishii said his early efforts to capture dolphins, using methods to amplify sounds underwater to cause panic aimed at controlling the dolphins, are currently administered in a similar manner in dolphin hunts carried out in Taiji, Wakayama Prefecture.

Taiji dolphin hunters currently capture dolphin pods by inserting long, metal poles with bell-shaped ends into the water and banging on them to create a wall of sound underwater, causing the dolphins to panic. They are then encircled by the fishermen’s boats and herded into a nearby cove to await their fate.

O’Barry is world renowned as a dedicated dolphin defender and has released scores of captured dolphins worldwide. He was featured in the 2010 Academy Award-winning documentary “The Cove,” which highlighted Taiji’s yearly dolphin slaughter. Last Friday, he teamed up with Ishii in a joint presentation to a group of Japanese and foreign residents at Temple University’s Azuma Hall in Tokyo.

Ishii said he had been hunting and killing dolphins for decades, but he later became conflicted about the massive slaughtering aspect of the drive hunts.

He characterized dolphins as highly intelligent mammals that offered no resistance when captured and refused to bite him even while he was cutting their throats.

Ishii said he became compassionate about the dolphins’ desperate plight in Japan. He also said unruly protesters railing over the drives in Taiji would only exacerbate the problem.

Ishii believes he can persuade the government to stop submitting quotas for slaughtering dolphins in the annual drive hunts. He said he will solicit a massive signature campaign and submit the results to the Fisheries Agency in a bid to stop the annual slaughter.

He added that if enough Japanese and foreign residents cite their disapproval, the government will have to re-evaluate its policy of promoting continuation of the drive hunts.

O’Barry and Ishii also discussed the issue of mercury in seafood, agreeing that the government should require warning labels on all small cetacean food products sold in Japan.

Recently, U.S. Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy voiced her disapproval of the dolphin drives and stressed that the U.S. government condemns the dolphin hunts and is concerned about the health issues surrounding the high mercury levels found in small cetacean food products sold for human consumption.

Dr. David Permutter, a famous Florida neurologist, told The Japan Times that eating dolphin meat is analogous to feeding consumers arsenic.

Ishii said he regrets having killed dolphins and is currently conducting eco-tours in Taiji, offering tourists the sights and sounds of dolphins swimming in the wild.

                                                  Art by KEIKO OLDS

The judgment by the International Court of Justice in The Hague is binding, final and ineligible for appeal, forcing Japan to drastically change the whaling program it long claimed was for “scientific research.”
The U.N.’s top court on Monday ordered Japan to end its annual Antarctic whale hunt, saying in a landmark ruling that the program was a commercial activity disguised as science.

While the decision does not apply to whaling in the Pacific Ocean, it is likely to deal a severe blow to the entire whaling industry, which has come under strong criticism from Western countries.

Koji Tsuruoka, the official who represented the Japanese government in the case, told reporters that Tokyo will comply with the judgment as a country that respects the rule of law, but expressed deep disappointment with the order to “revoke” any permit or license for whaling in the specified area.

“Japan shall revoke any existent authorization, permit or license granted in relation to JARPA II (research program) and refrain from granting any further permits in pursuance to the program,” ICJ Presiding Judge Peter Tomka said.

Agreeing with Australia, which in 2010 hauled Japan before the Hague-based ICJ in a bid to end whale hunting in the Southern Ocean, Tomka said that the “special permissions granted by Japan are not for purposes of scientific research.”

“The evidence does not establish that the program’s design and implementation are reasonable in relation to its stated (scientific) objectives,” Tomka said.

Matthew Collis, marine campaigns manager at the International Fund for Animal Welfare, said in Sydney that the decision is a “major victory for whaling conservation in international law” and called on Tokyo to abide by the court’s ruling.

Jeff Hansen, managing director of Sea Shepherd Australia, said the ruling was the correct one.

“Sea Shepherd has been upholding the Australian Federal Court ruling and the International Court has just acknowledged what Japan is doing is illegal. It’s a real testament to Sea Shepherd and all its supporters and Capt. Paul Watson, all these years and his efforts,” Hansen said, adding that he hopes Japan will respect the decision.

“Our hope is that Japan can be a nation that loves whales and sees the huge benefit from eco-tourism that Australia does, which was also a nation that used to hunt whales,” he said.

While Norway and Iceland run commercial whaling programs in spite of a 1986 International Whaling Commission moratorium, Japan insists that its program is scientific, while at the same time admitting the resulting meat ends up on plates back home.

Japan, which embarked on what it called “scientific” whaling in the Antarctic Ocean in 1987, insisted the program was consistent with Article 8 of the 1946 International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling, which permits research whaling, and said the selling of the resulting meat is also permitted under the article because it requires any whales taken to be processed as far as practicable.

But a 16-judge panel at the court stated that Japan’s “killing, taking and treating of whales . . . are not for purposes of scientific research” because the way Japan decided on the number of whales to be taken as samples was “not driven by strictly scientific considerations,” supporting Australia’s claim that Japan’s priority was “to maintain whaling operations without any pause.”

The court also noted that the scientific aspect of Japan’s program is being undermined by its limited scientific output to date and the open-ended time frame of the program, pointing that there has not been enough Japanese cooperation with other domestic and international researchers over species in the Antarctic Ocean.

Since 1987, Japan has taken an average of 400 minke whales each year from the Antarctic Ocean, according to data released by the Fisheries Agency.

In 2005 Japan set an annual target of 935 minke whales and its fleet caught a total of 853 in 2005 and 679 in 2008. However, its annual catch plunged to 103 in 2012, with anti-whaling activities cited by officials as the main cause.

After the moratorium on commercial whaling by the International Whaling Commission took force in 1986, Japan continued to hunt the mammals under quotas set by the government, saying collecting scientific data was necessary for the sustainable use of whale resources.

Japan’s rationale was that “scientific whaling” could be used to provide evidence to lift the moratorium and thus resume commercial whaling. This was feasible because a legal loophole in the moratorium permits hunting to collect scientific data, and Tokyo was accused of exploiting it.

Canberra had said that Japan had, since 1988, slaughtered more than 10,000 whales under scientific whaling, allegedly putting it in breach of international conventions and its obligation to preserve marine mammals and their environment.

In its application before the world court, Australia accused Japan of failing to “observe in good faith the zero catch limit in relation to the killing of whales.”

Japanese officials declined to comment on specifics ahead of the ruling, but a Fisheries Agency official said it maintained the view that “Japan’s whaling is purely for the purposes of obtaining scientific data, so that whale resources can be sustainably maintained.”

Tokyo had also consistently defended the eating of whale meat as a culinary tradition and vowed to “never stop whaling.”

But Japanese officials said beforehand that Tokyo would accept the verdict of the ICJ, which was set up after World War II to rule on disputes between countries.Japan in April last year announced its whaling haul from the Southern Ocean was at a record low because of “unforgivable sabotage” by activists from the militant environmental group Sea Shepherd.

The Whales Have Won! — ICJ Rules Japan’s Southern Ocean Whaling ‘Not For Scientific Research’ 

Sea Shepherd Applauds the World Court for Protecting the Whales of the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary

                            Members of the International Court of Justice
                                        Photo courtesy of the ICJ.
 Sea Shepherd Applauds the World Court for Protecting the Whales       of the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary

The International Court of Justice

In a stunning victory for the whales, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague announced their binding decision today in the landmark case of Australia v. Japan, ruling that Japan’s JARPA II whaling program in the Antarctic is not for scientific purposes and ordering that all permits given under JARPA II be revoked. The news was applauded and celebrated by Sea Shepherd Conservation Society USA and Sea Shepherd Australia, both of which have directly intervened against Japanese whalers in the Southern Ocean.

Representing Sea Shepherd in the courtroom to hear the historic verdict were Captain Alex Cornelissen, Executive Director of Sea Shepherd Global and Geert Vons, Director of Sea Shepherd Netherlands. They were accompanied by Sea Shepherd Global’s Dutch legal counsel.

The case against Japan was heard by the ICJ in July of last year to decide whether Japan is in breach of its international obligations in implementing the JARPA II “research” program in the Southern Ocean, and to demand that Japan cease implementation of JARPA II and revoke any related permits until Japan can make assurances that their operations conform with international law.

In a vote of 12 to 4, the ICJ ruled that the scientific permits granted by Japan for its whaling program were not scientific research as defined under International Whaling Commission regulations. It ordered that Japan revoke the scientific permits given under JARPA II and refrain from granting any further permits under that program.

A minke whale spyhops in the middle of ice

Prior to the verdict, there had been some speculation that the ICJ would not permit the hunting of endangered fin and humpback whales, but it would compromise and allow the hunting of minke whales. However, it has been Sea Shepherd’s contention all along that — no matter the species — no whales should be killed, especially in a sanctuary. Sanctuary means “a place of refuge or safety; a nature reserve” where animals are protected. To allow killing in an internationally designated sanctuary is to make a mockery of international agreements made by those countries who established the sanctuary in 1994. At that time, 23 countries supported the agreement and Japan was the only IWC member to oppose it.

Even the Ambassador from Japan to the U.S., Kenichiro Sasae, during a public meeting in Los Angeles in December 2013 attended by representatives of Sea Shepherd USA, had this to say about whales and whaling: ”As an individual, I like whales and if you go out and see the whales, there is no reason for us to kill this lovely animal. But it’s history and it’s politics, I would say. There are a small number of Japanese people still trying to get this won. But mainstream Japanese are not eating whale anymore.” At the same meeting, Ambassador Sasae stated that Japan will abide by the ICJ ruling.  

Read the transcript here

Sea Shepherd Conservation Society’s international volunteer crew stood on the frontlines in the hostile and remote waters of Antarctica for eight years and then Sea Shepherd Australia took up that gauntlet for the last two years and will keep confronting Japanese whalers in Antarctica until we can once and for all bring an end to the killing in this internationally designated “safety zone” for whales. Over the years, Sea Shepherd has been the only organization to directly intervene against Japan’s illegal commercial whaling conducted under the guise of research, with their claims of research globally questioned. Indeed, Sea Shepherd has been the only thing standing between majestic whales and the whalers’ harpoons, as these internationally protected species — many of them pregnant — migrate through Antarctic waters each year.

“With today’s ruling, the ICJ has taken a fair and just stance on the right side of history by protecting the whales of the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary and the vital marine ecosystem of Antarctica, a decision that impacts the international community and future generations,” said Captain Alex Cornelissen of Sea Shepherd Global.

“Though Japan’s unrelenting harpoons have continued to drive many species of whales toward extinction, Sea Shepherd is hopeful that in the wake of the ICJ’s ruling, it is whaling that will be driven into the pages of the history books,” he said.

“Despite the moratorium on commercial whaling, Japan has continued to claim the lives of thousands of the gentle giants of the sea in a place that should be their safe haven,” said Sea Shepherd Founder, Captain Paul Watson. “Sea Shepherd and I, along with millions of concerned people around the world, certainly hope that Japan will honor this ruling by the international court and leave the whales in peace.”

Sea Shepherd Global will have the ships prepared to return to the Southern Ocean in December 2014 should Japan choose to ignore this ruling. If the Japanese whaling fleet returns, Sea Shepherd crew will be there to uphold this ruling against the pirate whalers of Japan.

Japan accepts UN whaling ruling

Prime Minister John Key has hailed the halt to Japanese whaling as a great decision.

"And given that we would make the case they've largely been commercially whaling that may well not be commercial for them so hopefully they would abandon that."Key said the Japanese could still apply to the ICJ or to the International Whaling Commission to return to the Southern Ocean with a true scientific whaling programme but that would likely see a major reduction in their allowable catch.

Judges at the International Court of Justice, the highest UN court, today rejected Japan's long-held argument that the catch was for scientific purposes and not primarily for human consumption.Prime Minister John Key has called the UN ruling against Japanese whaling "a great decision" and said he hoped it would see an end to whaling in the Southern Ocean.

It was unlikely they would pull out of the IWC as they had already said they would observe the decision and had historically observed the rule of law, he said.

"So I think for New Zealanders hopefully we've seen the last of Japanese whaling vessels in the great Southern Ocean."


Tokyo said it was disappointed but would abide by the decision, while activists said they hoped it would bring closer a complete end to whaling.

The court sided with plaintiff Australia, which was supported by New Zealand, in finding that the scientific output of the whaling programme did not justify the number of whales killed.

The practice was deeply offensive to many New Zealanders, Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully said this morning.

Activist Pete Bethune, who in 2010 was arrested and indicted in Japan after he boarded a Japanese whaling vessel in the southern ocean, slept outside The Hague overnight to make sure he was in the court to see the ruling handed down.

"I am over the moon," he said today.

"I believe justice has been served and I feel in some way vindicated with my activities in 2010. It's been amazing, a very emotional day."

The tribunal said no further licences should be issued for scientific whaling, where animals are first examined for research purposes before the meat was sold to consumers.

"In light of the fact the JARPA II (research programme) has been going on since 2005, and has involved the killing of about 3600 minke whales, the scientific output to date appears limited," presiding Judge Peter Tomka of Slovakia said.

Japan signed a 1986 moratorium on whaling, but has continued to hunt up to 850 minke whales in the icy waters of the Southern Ocean, as well as smaller numbers of fin and humpback whales, citing a 1946 treaty that permits killing the giant mammals for research.

Japan was "deeply disappointed" by the ruling, but it would comply, said Koji Tsuruoka, the country's chief lawyer before the court.

He said the Japanese Government would need to study the ruling before taking any further action.

Judges agreed with Australia that the Japanese research - two peer-reviewed papers since 2005, based on results obtained from just nine killed whales - was not proportionate to the number of animals killed.

The judgment is an embarrassment to Japan, but Tokyo could continue whaling if it devised a new, more persuasive programme of scientific that required "lethal catch" of whales, or if it withdrew from the whaling moratorium or the 1946 International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling.

McCully welcomed the decision.

"The ICJ decision sinks a giant harpoon into the legality of Japan's whaling programme: JARPA II," he said.

"New Zealand has consistently opposed Japan's so-called 'scientific' whaling, which is a practice that is deeply offensive to many New Zealanders."

McCully said he hoped Japan would "respect the Court's decision".

He said he sent a text to Australian speaker of the house Bronwyn Bishop last night to congratulate her on the decision.

McCully said New Zealand could also take "significant credit" as well.

"The legal case that New Zealand spelt out as intervenor in the court is essentially the logic the court outlined in its judgement last night, so I think the lawyers who served the New Zealand Government's interest here have absolutely picked the right lines to run with for the court," he said.

"They've effectively had their position confirmed."

But McCully stopped short of saying any thanks for the decision could go to Sea Shepherd.

"What I've said before is a programme that is carried out today, largely for reasons of pride on Japan's part, rather than because there's any use for the whale meat or any useful scientific outcomes," he said.

"One of the problems has been that the protest activity down there has rather made Japan dig its heels in. So while I'm sure that some of the Sea Shepherd people will claim credit for it, in fact my own perspective is Japan needs a bit of space here to work its way out of what is a practice that's got no future."

Labour's foreign affairs spokesman David Shearer said the ruling was a victory for both New Zealand and Australia.

"The court has confirmed what New Zealand has always claimed - that Japan's continued killing of whales under JARPA II, which is nothing more than slaughter under the highly dubious guise of science, is false," he said.

"Like New Zealand, Japan has always placed great importance on the international legal order and the rule of law. Japan's early statements that it will abide by the ICJ's ruling are welcome.

"Diplomatic efforts are now needed to ensure that new loopholes are not found to continue whaling operations."

Shearer said the decision was "fantastic news" for those who had campaigned for the protection of whales.


Whaling was once widespread around the world, but Japan is now one of only three countries, alongside Iceland and Norway, that continue the practice.

The meat is popular with some Japanese consumers who consider it a delicacy.

Norway, the other main whaling nation, in 1993 shifted away from scientific whaling to "commercial" catches, where the meat is sold directly to consumers.

Norway set a quota of 1286 minke whales in the north Atlantic in last year's summer hunt, saying stocks were plentiful in the region. Fishermen rarely catch the full quota, partly because demand has sunk in recent years.

Iceland and Norway do not claim to be carrying out research, openly hunting whale meat for commercial purposes, meaning the ICJ's ruling has no immediate consequences for them. But activists said the ruling reflected a gradually changing climate that would put an end to whaling.

"Whaling is under immense scrutiny from the international community, and the pincer movement on these countries is ever tightening," said Claire Bass, wildlife campaigner at the World Society for the Protection of Animals. 

- Reuters, Fairfax NZ

March 31, 2014

A Whale of a Ruling

It’s rare that animal abuse ends with one blow to the head. Typically, it takes a thousand strikes before the perpetrator—whether it’s an industry, a nation, or an individual—moves on. That’s been the case with all of the major breakthroughs in civil rights, women’s rights, and so many other important causes. Such is the case, too, with the movement to stop the commercial slaughter of the biggest animals, with the biggest brains, who have ever lived on the planet: the many species of whales that swim the world’s oceans.

Today, Japan sustained its biggest strike since the 1982 global moratorium on commercial whaling with a ruling by the International Court of Justice that its current southern ocean whaling activities are in breach of the International Convention on the Regulation of Whaling.

Support our efforts to stop commercial whaling and other wildlife abuse.

Humane Society International was the incubator of this idea, nearly a decade and a half in coming to fruition. But it found powerful and decisive expression in a 12 to 4 ruling of a court created under the authority of the United Nations.

Specifically, in 1999, HSI hatched an idea to challenge Japan at the International Court of Justice for its so-called scientific whaling programs. Japan has been violating the ban on commercial whaling since it first went into effect in 1986—by using a loophole in the International Convention on the Regulation of Whaling that allows countries to kill whales for scientific purposes. The majority of countries around the world including the majority of parties to the IWC—the body that regulates whaling—believe Japan’s science to be nothing more than commercial whaling thinly disguised as a scientific enterprise. Yet the IWC is unable to stop Japan because it lacks the ability to enforce the Convention’s rules.

We needed a new angle, a new point of attack. As our HSI team in 1999 prepared for the 2000IWC meeting in Adelaide, Australia—led by current vice president Kitty Block, they crafted a legal argument laying the foundation to take Japan to the ICJ for its ongoing whaling.

One hurdle was to find a country to bring the legal action. For a variety of reasons, we felt Australia was the right nation; we asked, and the Australian government accepted this important, bold challenge. That nation and our affiliate HSI-Australia, which won a significant legal victory against Japanese whaling companies a few years back, deserve a lot of credit on this historic day.

In the years since HSI’s whale campaigners forged this approach, the IJC case has been ripening, and today’s ruling marks the most important announcement in the trajectory of the anti-whaling movement since the IWC passed the commercial whaling moratorium 1982. It is the strongest third-party rebuke of Japan’s disguised commercial whaling program ever, and it has the force of international law behind it.

But, in the end, this is not a time to focus on which countries won and lost in this legal battle. It’s bigger, much bigger, than that. This is an inflection point in the decades-long battle over whaling, and an opportunity for Japan to join the rest of the worldwide community in valuing live whales over dead ones. There’s much more money to be earned, and more national brand building to be gained, by transitioning entirely to a responsible whale watching approach and leaving the commercial killing behind. Indeed, there is a growing whale watching industry in Japan, and this is the future.

The new, humane economy beckons. The nations of the world, the courts of the UN, and the lion’s share of global citizens want Japan, and other whaling nations, like Norway and Iceland, to join them in protecting whales and recognizing the beauty and majesty and sentience of these remarkable beings. Give now to support our work.

Success! Japan’s Scientific Whaling Program Has to Stop, Rules World Court

By care2

Read more:

In a historic victory for whales that has been years in the making, the United Nations’ highest court ruled on Monday that Japan’s whaling in Antarctica is illegal under international law and has to stop immediately.

The ruling, which was handed down by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague, will end Japan’s scientific whaling program, which has targeted thousands of fin, minke and humpback whales in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary since it began.

Big thanks to Care2 member Jelena Radovanovic for creating a petition urging the court to end the whaling program and to the over 67,000 Care2 members who signed it.                                                           ↓

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. Conservationists, however, have long argued that Japan has been abusing a loophole in the moratorium that allows for scientific research whaling.

In 2010, Australia challenged Japan with New Zealand’s support in the ICJ over Japan’s JARPA II research program, arguing it was just a cover for commercial whaling. The risk was big because there would be no appeal for whichever side lost, and if the court sided with Japan it would have been a huge blow to global campaigns against whaling.

Fortunately for whales, the court agreed with Australia, ruling that Japan was in breach of its international obligations under the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling by hunting and killing whales in the Southern Ocean.

Among other conclusions, the court found that Japan had no justification for the quota of whales it was setting annually, had failed to consider non-lethal alternatives and that the research program fell seriously short on science.

The court ordered Japan to revoke existing permits or licenses related to its scientific whaling program and refrain from granting any in the future.

Although the ruling won’t stop whaling entirely, it will make the Southern Ocean the safe haven for whales it was intended to be and is being applauded by whale advocates and conservationists around the world.

“With today’s ruling, the ICJ has taken a fair and just stance on the right side of history by protecting the whales of the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary and the vital marine ecosystem of Antarctica, a decision that impacts the international community and future generations,” said Captain Alex Cornelissen of Sea Shepherd Global.

Whether or not whaling itself is environmentally sustainable, many now argue that it’s not an economically viable option for Japan anymore and that it’s only still around because it’s being largely subsidized by the government.

Even if the court had sided with Japan, a drastically declining demand for whale meat poses another huge problem for the industry and has raised hope that decreasing appetites for whale meat will help kill the international market. According to the AP, the amount of whale meat stockpiled for lack of demand has nearly doubled over 10 years, with about 4,600 tons stockpiled at the end of 2012.

While Japanese officials say they will abide by the ruling, Sea Shepherd stated that it will have ships ready to return to the Southern Ocean to defend whales next winter just in case.

Care2 member Jelena Radovanovic helped influence the outcome of the ruling by simply starting a petition and putting pressure on the court to take action. If there’s an issue you care about, you can make a difference by starting your own petition.

Summary and the full text of the Judgment

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