Japan must stop hunting and killing whales in the Antarctic for “scientific research,” after the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled that the practice is not legitimate.
In a statement, the court said that although Japan’s actions could be described as scientific research, “the evidence does not establish that the program’s design and implementation are reasonable in relation to achieving its stated objectives.” It went on to conclude that the country’s activities do not appear to be “for the purposes” of scientific research but something else. The annual hunts under the JARPA II program are widely seen to be intended for whale meat, which is sold to restaurants in accordance with the International Whaling Commission’s (IWC) literature.
Japan has killed thousands of minke, fin, humpback, and sperm whales in the years since the IWC ordered a moratorium on the practice in 1982. It was allowed to continue whaling under a special permit that provided for scientific whale research, which Japan said it carried out to investigate stock management issues and to monitor its ecosystem.
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