RESPONDING to public uproar about Japan moving its whale hunting focus from the Antarctica to the North Pacific Ocean, the Japanese Government says whale hunting will persist, but with more consultation.
While this decision is yet to be met with further opposition from the Pacific region, Japan's Minister for Agriculture, Forests and Fisheries said whale research programs were scheduled for the fiscal year (FY) 2014 and FY 2015.
"The International Court of Justice (ICJ) judgment reaffirms that one of the purposes of the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling (ICRW) is the sustainable exploitation of whale resources," the minister said in a statement last month.
"In light of this, Japan has confirmed its basic policy of pursuing the resumption of commercial whaling, by conducting research whaling, through the co-operation among the ministries concerned, based upon international law and scientific evidence in order to gather scientific data that is essential for the management of whale resources."
Whale authority based in Fiji Dr Cara Miller expressed disappointment at Japan's seemingly unchanged approach to the global whale hunting issue.
"Japan has undertaken scientific permit whaling in Antarctica since 1988 and in the North Pacific since 1994. Both programs were conducted under the International Whaling Commission scientific permit whaling loophole.
"The recent ICJ court case declared that such whaling activities were illegal. However, the court case was specific to the activities in Antarctica. That said, I feel the same arguments used to dismiss the validity of scientific whaling in the Antarctic are also applicable to the North Pacific."