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UN Court: Japanese Whaling "Not Scientific" 188

Posted by samzenpus
from the swim-easy dept.
First time accepted submitter Nodsnarb (2851527) writes "The UN's international Court of Justice (ICJ) has ruled that Japan's Antarctic whaling program is not for scientific purposes. In a statement, the court said that Japan's programme involved activities which 'can broadly be characterised as scientific research.' However, it said that 'the evidence does not establish that the programme's design and implementation are reasonable in relation to achieving its stated objectives.' It added: 'The court concludes that the special permits granted by Japan for the killing, taking and treating of whales in connection with JARPA II are not 'for purposes of scientific research' pursuant to [the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling].'"
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UN Court: Japanese Whaling "Not Scientific"

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  • by DaMattster (977781) on Monday March 31, 2014 @07:51AM (#46620117)
    How will the UN enforce this? This is nothing more than a symbolic gesture as I don't think sanctions are likely to hurt Japan all that much.
  • by will_die (586523) on Monday March 31, 2014 @08:01AM (#46620199) Homepage
    Guess I will have to just rely of Norway for my whale meat supply. It is rather tasty.
  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Monday March 31, 2014 @08:02AM (#46620211) Journal
    As opposed to those other countries, that haven't invented 'using euphemisms to evade established law' yet?

    I'll be right back, the illegal enemy combatants in administrative detention are causing trouble again.
  • Buried the lede (Score:5, Insightful)

    by barlevg (2111272) on Monday March 31, 2014 @08:12AM (#46620277)
    From the Washington Post version [washingtonpost.com],

    Australia had sued Japan at the U.N.’s highest court for resolving disputes between nations

    Hold the phone--you mean there are ways to solve disputes between nations that *don't* involve firing artillery, invasion or threatening sanctions? Has anyone told North Korea, South Korea, Russia, Ukraine or the United States?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 31, 2014 @08:13AM (#46620289)

    The Chinese eat dogs, are responsible for the death of countless sharks killed just for their fins, and are the endpoint of the majority of illegal ivory trade which kills thousands of endangered animals each year. I hardly think they will be the ones taking Japan to task on this.

  • by criten (986175) on Monday March 31, 2014 @08:21AM (#46620353)
    ... tuna is actually more endangered than the minke whales Japan catch. Australia is a large producer of tuna. "Whale doesn't even taste good" is a common anti-whaling statement, yet neither does tuna. But Japan like tuna, so they won't protest it.
  • You're absolutely correct, but hypocrisy has never stood in the way of politics

  • by dunkelfalke (91624) on Monday March 31, 2014 @08:31AM (#46620459)

    Well, they can always ask Sea Shepherd.

  • Re:Buried the lede (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Xest (935314) on Monday March 31, 2014 @08:38AM (#46620509)

    Yes, the problem is for it to work you need civilised nations that actually listen. Unfortunately that doesn't apply to any of those you listed (and I add my own nation to the list - the UK).

    Getting Putin to listen though when he's off on a paranoid rant about how the EU wants to make him eat croissants is a no-go, much less Kim Jong Un who actually thinks he's a good leader and the whole of the rest of the world is always wrong about everything.

    This is one of those rare occasions where it's actually worked because the loser has accepted the ruling rather than saying "Okay, I lost, but I don't care, I'm going to carry on as I was anyway" or alternatively, "Fuck that, I'm not even going to go to that court because deep down I know I'm wrong and know I'll lose", the latter of which is what Argentina has done each time the UK has offered to let the court rule on the Falklands for example.

  • by Dogtanian (588974) on Monday March 31, 2014 @08:38AM (#46620515) Homepage

    I've tasted whale, it isn't tasty.

    Apparently most younger Japanese aren't much into it themselves either, and the "tradition" isn't, really. From this report [bbc.co.uk]:-

    For [Mitoshi Noguchi] there is nothing wrong with eating whale, it reminds him of school lunch.

    "When we were growing up we didn't have ample supply of food, so this was meat for us, our protein," he says. "So when we eat it now it's very reminiscent. It's delicious."

    Mr Noguchi is in late middle age, but on the same table is one of his much younger colleagues, Yoshitaka Takayanagi, born after the meat was phased out in Japanese schools. Few Japanese eat whale regularly these days, especially the young, and he has only eaten it twice before.

    This covers the phenomenon in general in more depth [bbc.co.uk]:-

    So why does Japan exert so much diplomatic effort on this issue? The official line is that whaling is an integral part of Japanese culture, a practice dating back hundreds of years.

    That isn't quite true. A few coastal communities, like Wakayama, have been hunting whales for centuries, traditionally with hand-held harpoons.

    But the rest of Japan only became familiar with eating whale during the 20th Century, as modern ships with harpoon-guns became available. Whale meat was especially widespread in the difficult years after the Second World War, when it was seen as a cheap source of protein.

    But as incomes rose, people switched to imported beef, or fish like tuna and salmon. With such an abundance of high-quality protein available these days, few Japanese see the point in eating whale, which doesn't taste that special.

    There are other reasons for Japan's determined campaign.

    "If the current ban on hunting whales is allowed to become permanent," says Hideki Moronuki, at the Fisheries Agency, the government department leading the campaign, "activists may direct their efforts to restricting other types of fishing."

    As Japan consumes more fish than any other nation, it worries about possible curbs on its fishing activities in open seas for species like tuna.

    Officials also like to claim that whales damage fish stocks because of the quantities they eat, although this is largely dismissed by scientists in the rest of the world.

    But perhaps the biggest factor is resentment of being told by other countries what Japan can and cannot do.

    "Why do people in the west make such a big deal about our very limited hunting of whales?" asks Hideki Moronuki.

    "How would they feel if we told Americans they couldn't hunt deer, or if we told Australians to stop hunting kangaroos?"

  • Re:Buried the lede (Score:4, Insightful)

    by barlevg (2111272) on Monday March 31, 2014 @08:39AM (#46620525)
    Really, I'm just shocked every time I read about the UN doing *anything* productive. In truth, the UN probably does a lot of good throughout the world. For instance, I applaud them for keeping their election observers on the ground in Afghanistan, whereas two other groups are withdrawing theirs after the Kabul hotel bombing [csmonitor.com] (the withdrawal of foreign observers is quite clearly one of the Taliban's goals).
  • Not Irony (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sjbe (173966) on Monday March 31, 2014 @09:02AM (#46620735)

    In the mean time, Japan - a country notoriously obsessed with cleanliness and purity - is eating discarded remains of scientific experiments.

    There is not and never was any science involved. This was a fig leaf to protect commercial interests, nothing more. These were obviously fishing vessels for commercial purposes and everyone has known that from day one.

  • by Uberbah (647458) on Monday March 31, 2014 @09:09AM (#46620811)

    tuna is actually more endangered than the minke whales Japan catch

    Actually that's a red herring with zero relevance to the subject of whaling. Siberian tigers are even more rare than tuna, so Japan should be able to haul in as many bluefins as they can catch. Or something.

  • Re:Buried the lede (Score:5, Insightful)

    by khallow (566160) on Monday March 31, 2014 @09:25AM (#46621005)

    Hold the phone--you mean there are ways to solve disputes between nations that *don't* involve firing artillery, invasion or threatening sanctions? Has anyone told North Korea, South Korea, Russia, Ukraine or the United States?

    Nations aren't ignorant of other means of settling disputes. They just believe the dispute is more likely to be settled in their favor if they break out the artillery.

    For example, Russia would risk the loss of Sevastopol as a naval port, if they were to resort to a UN court. By merely taking over the Crimea, they don't have that risk. It's simply the better move for them.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 31, 2014 @12:17PM (#46622927)

    Stop framing this as being about animal cruelty/cute animals shouldn't be killed.

    Japan fights the whale ban not because they actually like whale, but as an issue of food security. Japan is an island nation with limited amounts of land. They want the assurance of knowing that, if for some reason they cannot rely on meat imports, they have an alternative. Australia has an incentive to prevent whaling, since it is a major exporter of beef to Japan.

    If you really want to protect whales, drop the scientific catch requirements, give Japan a very limited harvesting quota, enforce it, and be done with the charade. This reduces the possibility of Japan giving the rest of the world the finger and hunting whales indiscriminately, as Norway already does.

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Monday March 31, 2014 @02:31PM (#46624299) Journal
    You missed (or deliberately ignored, or agree with) the central untruth that made that concept suspect: Is dressing your soldiers up as civilians in voilation of the Geneva convention, and do such soldiers forfeit assorted protections afforded uniformed forces Yes. So far, so good.

    If somebody isn't a soldier and commits a crime in civilian cloths (as civilians are wont to do), can you argue that he violated the Geneva convention? Hardly, it only applies to soldiers.

    That is the big lie of 'illegal enemy combatants'. Had the State of Terrorstan actually sent disguised soliders in, the illegality of their activity under the Convention would be cut and dry. No such state exists. Instead, the US decided to apply the standards of the Geneva Convention (selectively) to certain non-state actors who, being non-state, didn't act in uniform, in order to keep them in limbo between the protections afforded civilians and the protections afforded regular soldiers.

    I'm well aware that the Geneva Convention takes a dim view of spy types; but it is wholly orthogonal to the treatment of civilian criminals, no matter how noxious.

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