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A debate on the ban against hunting whales with focus on japan

Predictably, the Australian government and NGOs have been quick to condemn the move. I argue both countries are undermining science-based international environmental law. In essence, Australia and other prominent anti-whaling parties have long frustrated international efforts to resume sustainable whale harvests.

Japan, prevented from taking a legitimate approach, cynically a debate on the ban against hunting whales with focus on japan research exemptions. In 1982, members of the commission agreed to a moratorium on commercial whaling. Subsequent lobbying for a permanent whaling ban has always been opposed by countries such as Japan and Norway.

Members of the International Whaling Commission in blue. Some legal academics have argued that this purpose has transformed over time and is now something other than it was originally.

The real dangers to whales

Two fundamental tenets of international law are firstly that states, having ratified a treaty, must apply it in good faith and not frustrate its purpose; and secondly, to interpret treaties in accordance with their ordinary meaning.

The result is that the IWC is mired in dysfunction and acrimonious disagreement. The real dangers to whales For a generation, opposing domestic political considerations have focused debate and concern upon the few hundred minke whales hunted by the Japanese in the southern ocean.

Meanwhile, more than 300,000 cetaceans die annually from entanglement and ship strikes.

A debate on the ban against hunting whales with focus on japan

Noise and water pollution threaten many whale species. More whales washed up dead this April in Patagonia in an unexplained incident than Japan will capture in the southern ocean all summer. Why are whales special?

In an in-depth exploration of the whaling wars investigative journalist Sam Vincent explained the symbolic place of whales in Australia. In a pre-enlightened past Australians brutally exploited whales. We then recognized their majesty and humanity or, perhaps, super-humanityand now we are among their strongest protective champions.

Aggressively championing international whale protection is the lowest hanging political fruit in Australian environmental politics.

A debate on the ban against hunting whales with focus on japan

It costs nothing, is opposed by no one and requires zero change. In Japan whales carry a different significance. Just as it would be Australian political suicide to support a resumption of Japanese commercial whaling, Vincent reports it would be almost as damaging for any Japanese politician to voice anti-whaling sentiment. This has little to do with parochial Japanese whale hunting or culinary traditions, but is driven by attacks from outsiders, such as Australia.

It is not Japanese demand to eat whale meat that is the primary incentive to continue whaling, but instead the desire to not give in to foreign pressure. This argument is detailed a debate on the ban against hunting whales with focus on japan Japanese academicsand supported by recent Greenpeace Japan statements. Allow whaling to end it A return to whaling is being considered by the IWC under a Revised Management Planbut talks have reached an impasse since 2007.

If Australia and other anti-whaling nations compromised, it could be a model for how science, law and international diplomacy can combine to solve major international environmental problems.

Certain whale species were hunted close to extinction. The International Whaling Commission was formed in 1946, but failed at initial regulatory attempts, so parties agreed to a moratorium.

The species under threat were saved from over-hunting.

Now, armed with better data, is an opportunity for the international community to agree to a tightly-controlled commercial harvest of non-endangered whales, alongside a range of universally-supported conservation programs. This would likely have two effects in Japan. It would firstly remove the primary incentive for Japanese public support for southern ocean whaling. Given that it is a loss-making taxpayer-subsidized exercise producing an increasingly unwanted productthe likely outcome is that southern ocean whaling would cease altogether in due course.

All species, even whales, benefit from an international legal system characterised by respect, tolerance, compromise and cooperation. Post your questions in the comments section below.