Japan Draws Criticism Over Decision To Resume Commercial Hunting of Whales
Tokyo: Japan’s announcement on Wednesday to resume commercial hunting of whales has sparked international criticism after the island nation decision to withdraw from the International Whaling Commission (IWC).
This comes after Japan failed in a bid earlier this year to convince the IWC to allow it to resume commercial whaling. The country has repeatedly threatened to pull out of the body, and has been regularly criticised for catching hundreds of whales a year for “scientific research” despite being a signatory to a moratorium on hunting the animals.
Japanese Government’s top spokesperson Yoshihide Suga told reporters, “We have decided to withdraw from the International Whaling Commission in order to resume commercial whaling in July next year.”
“Commercial whaling will be limited to Japan’s territorial waters and exclusive economic zones. We will not hunt in the Antarctic waters or in the southern hemisphere,” Suga added.
Suga also informed that 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.
The withdrawal of Japan from IWC implies that the island nation joins Iceland and Norway in openly defying the IWC’s ban on commercial whale hunting.
Notably, Japan has hunted whales for centuries. Whale meat was a key source of protein in the immediate post-World War II years when the country was desperately poor.