Despite an International Court of Justice order to stop whaling, Japan has publicly promised to continue its controversial Antarctic whale hunt. In March the court ordered Japan to end its more than 20-year-old “scientific whaling” program in the Southern Ocean. The order forced Japan to abandon its Antarctic hunt for this year, but the country is now using the ICJ ruling as fodder for re-establishing the program with new rules.
Joji Morishita, Japan’s commissioner to the International Whaling Commission, told Reuters that the ruling was good for Japan because it upheld the legal basis for whaling. The country plans to look into a new research plan that involves killing whales while taking into consideration the reasoning and conclusions set out by the ICJ.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is from one of the country’s main whaling areas and he told a parliamentary committee that Japan would be going ahead with its whaling program. “We will carry out surveys on whales with the aim of reviving commercial whaling,” Abe said. “I will also make further efforts to gain international understanding.”
While few people in Japanese eat whale anymore, the government says whale meat is part of the country’s food culture and Morishita told Reuters that as long as the whales are hunted sustainably the rest of the world shouldn’t try to impose its views on other cultures. “If people in India tried to impose their way of treatment of cows on the rest of the world and tried to promote prohibiting eating at McDonalds or hamburgers, what would happen?”