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US Ban Against Japan Over Whaling "Understandable"

Conservation Minister Says US Ban Against Japan Over Whaling "Understandable"

The Minister of Conservation Hon Sandra Lee says a United States ban against Japan over its expanded hunt against whales is "understandable".

Ms Lee says the Government acknowledges the right of the United States to ban Japan from future access to its fishing waters and to threaten economic sanctions if the expanded Japanese whale hunt is not curtailed.

"New Zealand is just as concerned as the United States about Japan's plans to add the killing of 10 sperm whales and 50 Bryde's whales to its annual kill of minke whales in the North Pacific," Ms Lee said.

"We do not have a Pelly Amendment to the Fishermen's Protective Act, like the US, that authorises our Government to impose trade sanctions, but we can consider other measures," she said.

"There is a gathering momentum to reject Japan's offer to host an international meeting of the IWC's Working Group on the Revised Management Scheme for whaling activities, due to be held in Tokyo next March," Ms Lee said. "New Zealand would support a change of venue."

"I have asked my officials to brief me on the range of other measures it may be appropriate for New Zealand to take to show its strong concerns," Ms Lee said.

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