The Japanese Government has left the International Whaling Commission (IWC) – turning their back on global whale conservation. This means that they were forced to end their whaling program in our Southern Oceans, a win for our whales. Australians have been fighting for decades to get the whalers out of the Antarctic.
But this victory comes at a cost. Outrageously, in 2019 Japan resumed commercial whaling for the first time in 30 years! Japanese whalers are hunting sei, Bryde’s, minke and beaked whales in their own waters.
However, whilst Japan may have left the IWC their Japan’s whaling can’t escape the reach of international law. New legal analysis we commissioned with our colleagues at ifaw shows that Japan is not free to hunt and kill our ocean giants now they’ve quit the IWC. They are still bound by a web of duties under international law. If they don’t meet these obligations they open themselves up to legal challenge (the legal advice is available to read in full here).
Countries like Australia that are opposed to whaling must step up once again – Japan can’t be allowed to undertake commercial whaling unchallenged.
Tell Japan to abandon whaling rather than the rule of international law.
Image © Australian Customs Service