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Japan loses key vote at Whaling Commission

Japan loses key vote at Whaling Commission

Conservation minded countries won an important victory at the International Whaling Commission (IWC) meeting in Saint Kitts and Nevis today with the voting down of a proposal to resume whaling in coastal areas of Japan, Conservation Minister Chris Carter said.

"This vote was important because it is a proposal Japan has been putting up for many years and it has become an indicator of who has the numbers in the Commission," Mr Carter said.

"For the proposal to succeed it required a 75 percent majority, which it was never likely to get. However, if it had won a simple majority it would have been a clear indication that Japan had seized control of the Commission on some matters. The vote was very tight, just 31 votes against to 30 votes in support.

"The pro-whaling group has been emboldened by the arrival of Gambia which has now paid its overdue membership fees and is able to vote," Mr Carter said.

"Technically, this should have given the pro-whalers enough for a simple majority in the Commission and would have on the coastal whaling vote if not for four nations opting to abstain. These included Kiribati, the Solomon Islands, China and Korea, all of whom New Zealand and Australia have been talking with closely.

"Unfortunately, Kiribati and the Solomons also put their name to a declaration circulated at the Commission this afternoon calling for the 'normalisation' of the IWC in favour of whaling. So too did four other Pacific nations that vote with the Japanese: Tuvalu, Nauru, the Marshall Islands and Palau," Mr Carter said.

"It is possible this declaration may be put to a vote at the meeting over the next two days, and because the numbers are so tight Japan could achieve a simple majority for it. This would be a largely symbolic victory but it would send an alarming signal for other upcoming votes in the IWC.

"New Zealand has had another good day, but we are not out of the woods yet," Mr Carter said.


Saint Kitts and Nevis is 16 hours behind New Zealand standard time.


International Law: Pro-Whaling Nations May Have The Numbers - The numbers at the International Whaling Commission (IWC) remain too close to call, Conservation Minister Chris Carter said today shortly after arriving at the Commission's annual meeting in St Kitts. "It appears that three new members are likely to join the Commission in support of the pro-whaling bloc this year – Cambodia, the Marshall Islands and Guatemala," Mr Carter said. "This is against the addition of one nation to the pro-conservation bloc – Israel. However, it remains unclear how many of the developing nations recruited by the pro-whalers have paid their membership dues and are actually eligible to vote in the Commission." See... Whaling Commission numbers too close to call ALSO:

  • Greens - IWC votes likely against anti-whaling countries
  • WWF - Citizens of pro-whaling countries: 'No' to whaling
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