Australia and Japan still feuding over whaling

5/3/10; (2 Items)

Australia and Japan struggled to strike a deal in a bitter dispute on whaling yesterday, but the US negotiator in intense talks said nations would keep seeking a compromise. Key players on whaling were wrapping up three days of talks at a Florida beach resort where they debated a compromise to let Japan, Norway and Iceland hunt the ocean giants openly despite a 1986 moratorium on commercial whaling. In return, whaling nations would agree to sharply reduce their catch over a 10-year period and put their activities under the close supervision of the 88-nation International Whaling Commission (IWC). Asked if supporters and opponents of whaling could strike a deal, Monica Medina, the US commissioner to the IWC, said: “I think the jury is out.”


Japanese whaling
5/3/10; The Australian
Greg Sheridan (“Not one whale has been saved in harming relations with Japan”, Commentary, 4/3) may well be befuddled by Japan’s reaction to Australia’s position on whaling but the Rudd government has a right to expect more from such a strong bilateral partner. Notwithstanding a prohibition on commercial whaling Japan has now, in various guises, undertaken whaling operations in the Southern Ocean for 24 years.
Japan refuses to recognise Australian law prohibiting whaling offshore of Antarctica, or even that the whole of the Southern Ocean has been declared a sanctuary by the International Whaling Commission thereby prohibiting all commercial whaling.
Notwithstanding Australia’s active engagement in IWC debates for its reform, Japan has continued its whaling operations insisting that taking over 900 whales a year is legitimate scientific research. This claim has increasingly lacked credibility.
Diplomacy has been attempted at every turn to solve this dispute. If it fails then international litigation is the only other option. Donald Rothwell, Professor of International Law, Australian National University, Canberra, ACT
No whales saved in harming relations with Japan; Greg Sheridan; 4/2/10;; Above letter: