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New Zealand And Japan On Whaling

Media Release
Hon Phil Goff

1 February 2000


Foreign Minister Phil Goff said today that New Zealand and Japan would continue to have different viewpoints on the issue of whaling.

He was commenting in response to a letter issued last night by the Japanese Foreign Minister, Mr Yohei Kono.

"The New Zealand Government and public remain unconvinced that Japanese whaling in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary, undertaken in the name of scientific research, is necessary," said Mr Goff.

"The fact that it involves the killing of large numbers of minke whales in a part of the globe, designated as a sanctuary, is distressing to many people in New Zealand and in the wider world community.

"New Zealand has consistently argued against lethal means of scientific whaling. With modern techniques all the information needed for the management and conservation of whales can in our view be obtained by non-lethal methods," the Minister explained.

"We know that whales are highly migratory, long-lived and slow-reproducing mammals, therefore, take a long time to recover. Whale stock recovery from commercial exploitation is very slow, and for some species numbers remain very low.

"Our view on whaling absolutely clear. New Zealand will continue to promote an end to the hunting of whales within the International Whaling Commission.

"However, as the Japanese Minister has pointed out, the two countries operate within a framework of excellent friendship and cooperation - notwithstanding our differences over this issue - and we will keep it that way," Mr Goff concluded.


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