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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 Ritz_Just_Ritz (883997) on Monday March 31, 2014 @08:47AM (#46620087)

    So I'm shocked....just shocked, I say, that there was no scientific objective .

    Perhaps the science part was developing more efficient harpoons.

    • by B33rNinj4 (666756) on Monday March 31, 2014 @08:50AM (#46620105) Homepage Journal
      Nah, more efficient grilling and seasoning techniques.
      • by Ash Vince (602485) * on Monday March 31, 2014 @09:01AM (#46620195) Journal

        Nah, more efficient grilling and seasoning techniques.

        The Japanese mastered that years ago, you do not get much more efficient cooking than eating it raw :)

        • by Cyberax (705495) on Monday March 31, 2014 @09:57AM (#46620679)
          Not really. Cooking adds 10-20% to actual caloric content of food. Mainly because it breaks down complex molecules, making them easier to digest.
          • by Talderas (1212466) on Monday March 31, 2014 @10:17AM (#46620895)

            What You Meant:
            Cooked food contains more calories per gram.

            What I Heard:
            Cooking food makes you fatter.

            • by Cyberax (705495)
              Well, yes. Both are true. If you eat raw food then you'll most likely be losing weight, as it's very hard to get enough calories from raw food to sustain overweight. So if your aim is to lose excessive weight then avoiding cooked foods is probably a good ides.

              If you're thinking from a perspective of a shipwreck victim stuck on an island then cooking food (especially meat or starchy food) is a very good idea, because you'll need much less of it.
              • by meerling (1487879)
                It's known that humans have a unique and specialized digestive system that is adapted for eating cooked foods.
                You just don't get as much nutrition, not just calories, from raw food.
                It is true that cooking does 'destroy' some of the nutritional value, but if eaten raw, you still receive far less than if you'd have eaten the cooked food.

                If you want to lose weight, sure you could eat raw food and exercise, or you could eat less cooked food and exercise, or just exercise more.
                • by Aighearach (97333)

                  While you're mostly correct, the nutrients destroyed by cooking are generally different ones than are made available by cooking, so the over-simplification as stated is slightly misleading.

                  Generally what is destroyed is provided by greens, and so it makes sense that humans have traditional practices of eating some of their greens raw.

                • by Cyberax (705495)
                  Nutrients are not really destroyed by cooking (unless we're talking about some extreme cooking methods). Some vitamins are destroyed and that's why you should eat at least some raw vegetables and greens, but general nutrients remain untouched by cooking.
            • by Aighearach (97333)

              If you think of "calories" as "makes you fatter," my advice is just say no to calories. It solves the problem for both of us.

    • by will_die (586523) on Monday March 31, 2014 @09:01AM (#46620199) Homepage
      Guess I will have to just rely of Norway for my whale meat supply. It is rather tasty.
    • Irony (Score:5, Funny)

      by RabidReindeer (2625839) on Monday March 31, 2014 @09:32AM (#46620467)

      In the USA, a large quantity of peanut butter is now being destroyed because it comes from a plant that had experienced Salmonella contamination, although supposedly not at the time this particular lot was made.

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

      • Not Irony (Score:5, Insightful)

        by sjbe (173966) on Monday March 31, 2014 @10:02AM (#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 meerling (1487879)
        If they had to treat all biological remains from scientific research as biological waste & biohazards and dispose of properly or face jail time and HUGE fines, that would also kill their whaling industry. You can't sell biohazards or biological wastes.
    • No, the science was how whale internal organs cure cancer and give you more spirit energy for yoga. Now that's hardcore, book science right there.
      • I just got an image in my head of a yoga class turning into a Bleach/DBZ-style fight scene XD

        "This will be the end of you! I have eaten whale for extra spirit energy! YUUUAAAAAAAA!!!!"

  • by DaMattster (977781) on Monday March 31, 2014 @08:51AM (#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 wisnoskij (1206448) on Monday March 31, 2014 @09:04AM (#46620229) Homepage

      Whale Wars: UN Edition?

    • Japan exports a lot of products, particularly consumer electronics. They also depend heavily on imports for things like food. Any sort of tariffs or sanctions related to those would certainly make an impression.

      • by Talderas (1212466)

        Yeah. We know how the Japanese have responded to economic sanctions.

      • You mean China. Most "export" products are made in the countries that consume those products. Most manufacturing is done outside of Japan.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 31, 2014 @09:19AM (#46620331)

      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.

      Japan has agreed to abide by the UN courts rulings, which have asked for am immediate stop to the practice

    • by Xest (935314) on Monday March 31, 2014 @09:26AM (#46620413)

      It's not so much how the UN can enforce it, it's the fact that it makes it legal for other countries to take action against Japan over it without themselves becoming victims of legal cases from Japan.

      For example, Japanese ships entered New Zealand's exclusive economic zone earlier this year - something boats are normally allowed to do without needing explicit permission. Now however there's nothing to stop the New Zealand coast guard from arresting them and seizing their ship for carrying out an illegal activity if they were to pass through that zone again. Effectively Japan could no longer call such act an act of piracy which would be the risk of New Zealand or similar decided to go ahead and do that without this ruling.

      This is why Japan has said it will abide by the ruling, because whilst it's embarassing for them to lose their whaling argument at long last, it'd be even more embarassing if they said "fuck the UN" and then got their ships legally seized by a foreign government and the Japanese crew paraded on TV as arrested for engaging in illegal activity. They'd then have to stop whaling for the reason that their ships had been seized, rather than that they'd accepted the ruling and given it up themselves - this is the least embarrassing route for them now, hence why they're taking it.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by dunkelfalke (91624)

      Well, they can always ask Sea Shepherd.

    • by mean pun (717227) on Monday March 31, 2014 @09:34AM (#46620489)

      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.

      Since Japan is using UN resolutions/verdicts against China in its geo-political battles, they do not want to be seen as flouting UN verdicts themselves.

      Also, whale meat is actually not that popular in Japan, so much so that the whalers have to dump their stocks: http://www.japantimes.co.jp/op... [japantimes.co.jp]. The reason Japan has persisted in whaling despite all the protests is a mixture of lobbying, nationalist sentiments, and fears that banning whaling will open the door to more restrictions of fishing rights.

      I'm sure some Japanese politicians will thank the gods of their choice for this verdict.

    • by countach (534280)

      Good question. Personally I think Australia should just send a destroyer down there and sort it out, but I doubt we'll have the guts.

    • by myth24601 (893486)

      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.

      Simple, the UN Anti-Whaling commission will be called together. Japan will serve as Chair of this commission.

    • by Aighearach (97333)

      The UN won't enforce it. Volunteers will enforce it.

  • by polar red (215081) on Monday March 31, 2014 @08:55AM (#46620147)

    My throat can only make one sound :
    DUH !

  • Zero Fin (Score:5, Funny)

    by Sponge Bath (413667) on Monday March 31, 2014 @09:03AM (#46620217)

    Somebody set up us the harpoon.
    All your whale are belong to us.
    For great justice.

  • Continue the noble science against UN oppression with the Cetacean Research Simulator [harpooned.org]!
  • Buried the lede (Score:5, Insightful)

    by barlevg (2111272) on Monday March 31, 2014 @09:12AM (#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 Talderas (1212466)

      The UN court is basically non-binding arbitration.

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

      by Xest (935314) on Monday March 31, 2014 @09:38AM (#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 javelinco (652113)

        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.

        Why do you imagine that Japan is going to give a shit about this ruling? I don't see any reason to believe that anything is going to change.

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

          by Xest (935314) on Monday March 31, 2014 @10:14AM (#46620857)

          Because they've said they will?

          That was kind of a big pointer. It does require you to RTFA though.

          The quote in question from TFA:

          "Japan said it would abide by the decision but added it "regrets and is deeply disappointed by the decision"."

          • by Xtifr (1323)

            Or even just the headline of TFA (if the A itself is too much to handle):

            "Japan accepts court ban on Antarctic whaling"

            (Emphasis mine.)

        • by Talderas (1212466)

          1. Because whale meat is not that popular.
          2. Not abiding by it causes them more trouble than abiding by it.
          3. Most importantly, Japan has been fighitng this issue as the frontline of the battle for fishing rights. It was a battle that was going to be lost eventually so it was serving as a delaying action.

        • by jrumney (197329)
          The fact that Japan has always claimed to work within the rules of the IWC shows that they do give a shit about the ruling on some level. If they wanted to continue blatantly commercially whaling without even the slightest pretence of giving a damn, they could have joined Norway and Iceland in giving the finger to the IWC long ago.
      • by argStyopa (232550)

        NO country complies with such rulings, unless it's in their interest do so, or unless they are compelled.

        The problem with the US (who has since WW2 largely complied even with rulings against itself, contrary to your implication above) is that moronic recent political leaders don't understand that following such rules (except in extremis) IS in the US's broader long-term interest in fortifying the legal conduct of all other states.

        • by swb (14022)

          I wonder if its political calculus that makes recent political leaders work this way, or if it's whatever's in the water that seems to make everyone, especially the rich and powerful, just assume that they can blatantly disregard all the rules, all the time.

          Usually the ones on top flavor it with "on advice of legal counsel" or "based on our interpretation of the rules" and then something about how they have chosen to define up as down or black as white.

          Maybe it's *always* been this way, but it sure feels li

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

      by khallow (566160) on Monday March 31, 2014 @10:25AM (#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.

    • 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?

      That crap gets rated as Insightful and gets 5 points? Wow. Tell you what. Name ONE, just one, UN resolution considered to be against North Korea that they have willingly obeyed. In fact, to be blunt, the whole reason that there are two Koreas instead of one unified and horribly backwards united Korean under Kim family despotism is because the UN Security Council authorized the use of force against North Korea's invasion when the Soviet Union infamously boycotted the meeting, only to find out the Securit

      • by barlevg (2111272)
        Tbh, I'm as surprised as you are. I was aiming for some "Funnys" but expected some "Flamebaits."
    • Everyone tried to tell something to North Korea regarding their death camps but then they said "mind your own business," Russia and China supported them, and that was the end of that.

  • Japanese "research" whaling has always been a wink and nod piece of bullshit propaganda.

    I'm glad even an organization as spineless, dickless and useless as the UN actually stood up and realized it.

    Now, will anything COME of this? Probably not.

    • by jythie (914043)
      Well, they have always realized it, I doubt anyone in power actually believed Japan's legal argument. It is really just a matter of who's citizens are upset in what proportions to being able to effect the political careers of various leaders.
  • by criten (986175) on Monday March 31, 2014 @09:21AM (#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.
  • by Hans Adler (2446464) on Monday March 31, 2014 @09:31AM (#46620455)

    I have said it before, but I think it's worth repeating:

    When it comes to exploiting (other) natural resources in a high seas region it's important to prove that you have been economically active there for a long time, and still are. The whaling is an investment. This investment requires that the programme is pretty openly non-scientific. Just 'scientific' enough so a sufficient number of other countries in the International Whaling Commission can be convinced to allow it, where necessary through a bribe. But no more so, because at some point later Japan will have to prove that it was an economic activity, not research.

  • So I guess we'll never know if a whale can survive a harpoon to the cerebral cortex. This is a dark day for science.
  • by HnT (306652) on Monday March 31, 2014 @10:13AM (#46620849)

    So, can someone explain to me why whaling is such a very bad thing the whole Western world has to get in an uproar - yet destroying huge portions of the rain forest and endangering species living in it to breed cattle or grow soy is ok? It's not like our culinary preferences are not endangering other species and destroying their natural habitats.
    But when it's whales, all of a sudden it matters?

    • by Sockatume (732728)

      1) It all matters. The same people who oppose rainforest devastation for food oppose whaling for food. The same people who don't give a shit about the rainforest don't, generally speaking, give a shit about whales.

      2) They're a slow-breeding, unfarmed animal. Whaling has essentially been outlawed* because they can't sustain being hunted for food.

      *Countries can go cap-in-hand to the UN to ask for a quota, for example to preserve small-scale traditional hunting. It goes without saying that Japan's present whal

    • So, can someone explain to me why whaling is such a very bad thing the whole Western world has to get in an uproar - yet destroying huge portions of the rain forest and endangering species living in it to breed cattle or grow soy is ok?

      Nobody is saying the former is bad and the latter is OK. It's not an either/or situation: both are bad and people are trying to do something about both. In theory, however, it should be easier to do something about the whales than something about the rainforests.

  • by DrXym (126579) on Monday March 31, 2014 @10:20AM (#46620951)
    How are they going to put food on their plate now?
  • So much for "Whale Wars" and the gang of the Sea Shepard. Ah well.

    Seriously though, laudable as the decision (that would require others to enforce) is, I'm baffled that it took this long (almost 4 years) to make a decision on something that clearly wasn't scientific in nature.

  • by walterbyrd (182728) on Monday March 31, 2014 @12:48PM (#46622663)

    > Norway and Iceland, two countries that continue to whale, get around the IWC’s 1986 moratorium by simply rejecting it.

    http://time.com/43674/japanese-whaling-ban-wont-end-the-whale-wars/

"It is easier to fight for principles than to live up to them." -- Alfred Adler

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