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Concern “Heightened” Over Iwc Outcome

Concern “Heightened” Over Iwc Outcome

Japan’s Commissioner to the IWC, Mr. Minoru Morimoto, has expressed Japan’s dissatisfaction with the outcome of the 56th Annual Meeting of the IWC, which concluded today in Sorrento, Italy.

“A number of decisions, including rejection of the Chairman’s proposal to complete a management regime for sustainable commercial whaling (RMS), continuation of the Southern Ocean Sanctuary, rejection of our reasonable proposal for the resumption of sustainable commercial whaling in the Antarctic, and continuing unjustified criticisms of our research programs, mean that science continues to be ignored,” he said. “These decisions together with the rejection of our proposals for a take of minke and Bryde’s whales to address the traditions and cultural needs of whaling communities in Japan and lack of willingness to address our concerns that the Conservation Committee established last year does not include sustainable use, have heightened our concern about the future relevance of the IWC for Japan.”

Mr. Morimoto said that based on this year’s RMS resolution, we are not optimistic about achieving a satisfactory outcome by the next meeting. However, Japan is willing to make every effort towards the resumption of whaling under a reasonable RMS. In this context, Mr. Morimoto reiterated Japan’s position that the moratorium had expired in 1990.

Japan was extremely dissatisfied that the Southern Ocean Sanctuary was not abolished, particularly given the conclusions from independent scientists invited by the IWC to review the sanctuary. These scientists confirmed Japan’s position that the sanctuary has no scientific justification. “The Antarctic has the most abundant whale populations in the world. Our proposal for a commercial catch of 3000 minke whales was to demonstrate how these resources should be managed in contrast to continuation of the sanctuary, which is not required for conservation and has no scientific basis.”

Mr. Morimoto also said that while the Commission once again recognized the traditional and cultural importance of whaling to communities in Japan, it again did not agree on actions to address this matter. “For more than 10 years the Commission has recognized the distress to whaling communities caused by the moratorium and agreed to work expeditiously to resolve the matter. But this has been only words without action,” he said.

Mr. Morimoto also said: “The Commission must support research to address the issue of fish consumption by whales as this is a serous and growing matter for all nations that depend on fisheries resources. We will continue our whale research programs which are designed to improve the management of all marine resources.”

He reminded the Commission that the purpose of the IWC was to manage whaling on a sustainable basis and that it’s Scientific Committee had agreed that a number of whale stocks were abundant and increasing. “Continued total prohibition of whaling under these circumstances is unacceptable,” he said. “Those who seek to deny the legitimate cultural right of nations to resume harvesting of abundant whales for food only provide the incentive for us to look outside of the IWC to achieve our goals.” he said.

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