Published: Sat, December 22, 2018
Research | By Dana Schwartz

Japan to withdraw from IWC to resume commercial whaling

Japan to withdraw from IWC to resume commercial whaling

Japan is to withdraw from the International Whaling Commission (IWC) and resume commercial whaling next year, a report claimed on Thursday, in a move that drew condemnation from Australia, with other anti-whaling nations expected to follow suit.

The country's withdrawal, which will be officially announced to the country as early as next week, is planned for 2019 after years of debate between pro- and anti-whaling members of the IWC.

According to Kyodo News, the country is unlikely to catch whales in the Antarctic Ocean even if it did withdraw from the IWC, as it is eyeing commercial whaling only in seas near Japan and its exclusive economic zone.

"Japan's official position, that we want to resume commercial whaling as soon as possible, has not changed", the official said.

However, it has continued to hunt whales in the Southern Ocean for what it calls "scientific research" purposes, but this has been seen as a cover for commercial purposes.

Japan can not continue research whaling in the Antarctic Ocean if it pulls out of the IWC.

To leave the IWC next year, Japan needs to notify the commission by January 1.

Japanese whaling officials said the whaling organisation is supposed to pursue sustainability but has become an anti-whaling body.

Following the ballot, Japan's IWC commissioner Joji Morishita said differences with anti-whaling nations were "very clear" and Japan would now plan its "next steps".

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A Japanese whaling fleets leaves the city of Ishinomaki in April 2014 as a Japan Coast Guard vessel provides security.

1994 - Japan launches research whaling in the Northwest Pacific. That effort failed in September when it lost a vote among the organization's 89 member countries.

1948 - The International Whaling Commission is established under the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling.

Japan needs to notify the IWC by January 1 if it wished to leave.

September 2018 - The IWC rejects Japan's proposal to resume commercial whaling at an annual meeting in Brazil.

Iceland, along with Norway, openly defies the IWC's 1986 ban on commercial whale hunting. Japan suspended catching whales for commercial purposes in 1988.

In order to leave the IWC next year, Japan needs to notify the commission by January 1.

Darren Kindleysides, CEO of the Australian Marine Conservation Society, said Japan would have "turned its back on the global community" should it follow through with its plans to withdraw.

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