Australia 'extremely disappointed' by Japan's withdrawal from International Whaling Commission

Head of Japanese whaling group welcomes decision

Japan will withdraw from the International Whaling Commission, which it's been a part of since 1951, to resume commercial whaling in 2019, a government spokesperson said Wednesday.

They're apparently going to stop killing whales in the Antarctic, basically admitting that all those years of "scientific research" were no such thing; if it was really "scientific research" to ascertain stocks for the resumption of commercial waling in the Antarctic, which is now (thankfully) not going to happen, Japan is admitting that all those thousands of whales who died disgusting deaths under the harpoons (more often slow, excruciating death from bleeding or evisceration, or by rifle-shot), died for no reason at all.

The decision by Tokyo to withdraw from the International Whaling Commission (IWC), which regulates whaling and has banned it, after 57 years as a member was criticised by allies and conservation groups. Hideki Moronuki, a senior official at the Fishery Agency, told reporters: "A withdrawal is not the best option, but it is a better option in order to achieve Japan's major objective of commercial whaling".

It says commercial whaling will be limited to its territorial and economic waters and it would no longer hunt in the Antarctic.

'The Whale Wars in the Southern Ocean will soon be over.

Suga said the hunt would respect catch limits based on IWC calculations, "to avoid negative impact on cetacean resources".

But Japan, Iceland and Norway have continued to hunt whales. And on the political front, whaling constituencies are heartlands of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party.

"The out of step with the worldwide community, let alone the protection needed to safeguard the future of our oceans and these majestic creatures", global conservationist group Greenpeace said.

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Japan said it will continue to attend meetings of the IWC to help "rectify the dysfunction" of the organization led by the United States. The wound that is visible on the calf's side was reportedly caused by an explosive-packed harpoon.

Japan will lose the right to conduct scientific research under the IWC without gaining any guaranteed rights to continue whaling, he said, potentially leaving itself open to legal challenge.

In September, Japan asked permission to hunt Antarctic minke whales, common minke whales, Bryde's whales and Sei whales, with officials citing IWC population estimates in the tens of thousands for three of the species and of more than 500,000 for the Antarctic minke.

Suga said Japan would officially inform the IWC of its decision by the end of the year, which will mean the withdrawal comes into effect by June 30.

Leaders in Australia are "extremely disappointed" by Japan's decision, according to a joint statement by Marise Payne, the minister for foreign affairs, and Melissa Price, the minister for the environment.

Japan has long defied such protests to conduct what it calls scientific research whaling, having repeatedly said its ultimate goal was to whale commercially again.

That argument was rejected by the International Court of Justice in 2014, when it ruled that Japan's Antarctic hunt had no scientific basis. Whale hunting has become a rare thorny subject in Japan's otherwise largely amiable foreign policy, with worldwide opposition only prompting conservatives to dig in deeper in support of the tradition. Humane Society International said it fears that such action will open the door for "a new chapter of widespread renegade slaughter of whales for profit". Its aged whaling mothership is in need of a costly replacement or refit. That works out to 35 grams per person per year, according to a whale meat shop owner Koichi Matsumoto.

Most of the people who eat whale meat are from an older generation and feel nostalgic.

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