Japan asked to revoke whaling permits in Antarctica

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) has ordered Japan to "revoke" its permits for whale hunts in Antarctica since Tokyo failed to meet the requirements for the "purposes of scientific research" laid out in international law.

The ICJ ruling, approved on a 12-4 vote, Monday found that "Japan has not acted in conformity with its obligations under paragraph 7 (b) of the Schedule to the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling in relation to the killing, taking and treating of fin whales in the 'Southern Ocean Sanctuary' in pursuance of JARPA II."

Japan contends that its whaling programme, unilaterally launched in the 1980s after the International Whaling Commission imposed a moratorium on commercial whaling, is carried out strictly for scientific research.

The court, also by a 12-4 vote, ruled "that Japan shall revoke any extant authorisation, permit or license granted in relation to JARPA II, and refrain from granting any further permits in pursuance of that programme," ICJ president Peter Tomka said.

Australia filed suit against Japan in the ICJ in May 2010, alleging that Japanese whalers were hunting the endangered marine mammals for commercial purposes, but the court did not rule on the charge, saying only that the hunts were not for "scientific" purposes.

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