January 17, 2006
Diplomatic protest issued against Japanese whaling
Australia, Britain, Brazil, France and Germany were
among 17 countries which this week called on Japan to
halt to its Antarctic whaling program.
"The fact that 17 countries supported this
representation, shows how important this issue is, and
the depth of feeling around the world," British
fisheries minister Ben Bradshaw said in a statement.
A written statement calling on Japan to "cease all its
lethal scientific research on whales" was delivered to
Japan's foreign ministry on Monday and farm ministry
Japan abandoned commercial whaling in 1986, in line
with an international moratorium, but began catching
whales again the following year for what it calls
Critics say the whale meat goes to up-market Japanese
"We urge Japan to reconsider its positions and end
this unjustified and unnecessary slaughter which is
regarded by many countries as a means to by-pass the
IWC (International Whaling Commission) moratorium,"
Japan's whaling program includes fin and humpback
whales, both of which are on the World Conservation
Union's list of threatened species. Most of the whales
killed are minke.
Other signatories of the statement were Argentina,
Austria, Belgium, Finland, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg,
Mexico, New Zealand, Portugal, Spain and Sweden.
Australia on Monday had called on Japanese whalers and
environmental group Greenpeace to calm down following
life-threatening confrontations between then. In the
latest incident, on Saturday, a harpoon fired at a
minke whale narrowly missed a protest boat.