Japan defends whaling plan

JAPAN has done nothing wrong by sending its whaling fleet out on its annual Antarctic hunt and the world must agree to disagree on the issue, the country’s top whaling official said yesterday. The International Court of Justice said last year that Japan’s whaling in the Southern Ocean should stop and an International Whaling Committee (IWC) panel said in April that Tokyo had yet to demonstrate a need for killing whales. Tokyo took a one-year hiatus from Antarctic whaling. But Tokyo’s retooling of its hunt plan for the 2015-16 season, which cut the number of minke whales it takes by two-thirds to 333, made every effort to meet the objections of both the court and the IWC committee, Japan’s IWC commissioner, Joji Morishita, said.

Japan, which has long maintained most whale species are not endangered and eating whale is part of its culture, began “scientific whaling” in 1987. The meat ends up on shop shelves. “We have decided to implement our research plan, because we are confident that we completed the scientific homework as well as . . . meeting the ICJ requirement,” Morishita said. He said the emotive issue might just be another one of many irreconcilable differences international society had to live with.