Japan calls for whaling reform
Japan wants to resume commercial whaling.
Japan has proposed a restructure of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) that would allow it to lift its moratorium on commercial whale slaughter.
The Japan Fisheries Agency will lay out the plan at the Commission's biennial meeting in September.
“We think the IWC should revise the zero-catch of whales,” the agency's Yuki Morimoto has told reporters.
“Japan is proposing that it should allow catching some species which are abundant and approved by the scientific committee.”
Japan says around 40 of the 88 IWC members support whaling, and so it wants to reduce the threshold for decision making from a three-quarter majority to 50 per cent plus one.
“We're saying let's change the IWC's decision making rules. The reason is at the moment pro-whaling countries and anti-whaling countries are in confrontation and the deadlock is continuing,” Mr Morimoto said.
“At the last IWC meeting in 2016, Japan raised the issue: can we go on like this?
“Until now, Japan only proposed resuming commercial whaling and it was a proposal from one side.
“This time we are also taking consideration of the anti-whaling countries so they can do what they want to do.”
Mr Morimoto said Japan could still work with anti-whaling countries, and in theory approve things like expanded whale sanctuaries.
Australia has been one of the most active nations in preventing Japanese whaling and says it will continue to oppose any move to restart commercial whaling or weaken the rules relating to it.
“The Australian Government will continue to advocate strongly and consistently for the cessation of commercial and so-called 'scientific' whaling,” Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg said in a statement.
“We strongly support the global moratorium on commercial whaling and will continue working through the International Whaling Commission to bring about a permanent end to this whaling.”