New Japanese Pm Urged To Recall Whaling Fleet

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19th November 2009, 06:30pm - Views: 1007

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(Sydney, November 19, 2009) The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) is urging

Japan’s new government to recall its whaling fleet which is heading to Antarctica to cruelly hunt

almost 1,000 whales.

In defiance of global pressure and several international laws, the government of Japan’s whaling fleet

has left harbour and is now en route to the pristine Southern Ocean Sanctuary to harpoon up to 935

minke whales and 50 endangered fin whales.

Despite a worldwide ban on commercial whaling, Japan hunts whales in Antarctica under the

loophole of “scientific whaling”. However, very little research is produced and with expanding hunt

quotas and whale meat on sale in supermarkets and restaurants, this is clearly commercial whaling by

another name. 

“Prime Minister Hatoyama came to power promising a sea change in Japan’s domestic and

international policies. But with whaling, it’s the same old story - government bureaucrats pushing

sham science while turning the sea red,” said Patrick Ramage, Director, IFAW global whale program

director. “We urge the Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Okada to recall the Japanese whaling

fleet and chart a new course for 21st Century whale conservation.”     

The future of whaling is among issues due to be discussed at a closed-door meeting of the

International Whaling Commission (IWC) in Seattle, Washington, USA next month. Japan has

previously announced it would suspend plans to harpoon 50 humpback whales while talks continue,

but it is not suspending the rest of its so-called “scientific” whaling programme.

“The Australian Government is still considering legal action to bring an end to so-called ‘scientific

whaling’ – we wonder how many whales will die before that action is taken,” said Erica Martin,

IFAW Asia Pacific Director.

Japan’s whalers have killed 9,394 whales in the Southern Ocean since 1987 when they first used the

cover of “scientific research” to get around the international whaling ban. 


For further information please contact Patrick Ramage at IFAW on mobile +1 508 7760027,

telephone +1 508 7442071 or email

Or Erica Martin, Director IFAW Asia Pacific 0408 881 607 or email

Alternatively visit

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Notes to Editors:

Legal analyses by international panels of independent legal experts convened in Paris, London,

Sydney and Canberra have found Japan’s expanding whaling to be in violation of a number of

international Laws and Treaties. These include IWC regulations, the Antarctic Treaty System and the

Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).

A group of six IWC countries including Japan will meet behind closed doors in Seattle from

December 4 to continue negotiations on the future of whaling. IFAW is concerned that such closed-

door negotiations could lead to the lifting of the ban on commercial whaling in some form.


The ban on commercial whaling needs to be strengthened, not weakened, as whales around the

world face more threats than ever before from whaling, ship strikes, entanglements, pollution and

man-made ocean noise.

An IFAW report released earlier this year showed that the total economic value of the whale

watching industry worldwide now tops US $2 billion. 

About the International Fund for Animal Welfare - As one of the world’s leading animal welfare

organisations, IFAW has representation in 16 countries and carries out its animal welfare work in

more than 40. IFAW focuses its campaigns on improving the welfare of wild and domestic animals

by reducing the commercial exploitation of animals, protecting wildlife habitats and assisting animals

in distress. IFAW works both on the ground and in the halls of government to safeguard wild and

domestic animals and seeks to motivate the public to prevent cruelty to animals and to promote

animal welfare and conservation policies that advance the well-being of both animals and people.

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