« 13参院選 憲法改正 新たな国家像の議論を深めよ | トップページ | 食品ロス削減 消費者の意識改める第一歩に »

2013年7月16日 (火)

国際司法裁判 科学的な調査捕鯨は有益だ

The Yomiuri Shimbun July 16, 2013
Scientific research whaling performs important function
国際司法裁判 科学的な調査捕鯨は有益だ(7月15日付・読売社説)

It is vitally important for Japan to present a persuasive case to prove that its whaling activities are in accordance with international law.

Australia has filed a complaint with the International Court of Justice in The Hague, demanding that Japan halt research whaling in the Antarctic. Oral arguments by the two countries are now under way before the court, which is likely to hand down a ruling before the end of the year.

This is the first time since the 1945 inauguration of the ICJ that Japan has become directly involved in litigation lodged with the primary judicial branch of the United Nations.

The main point of contention in the lawsuit is whether Japan’s whaling operations should be regarded as “whaling for scientific research purposes,” which is sanctioned under the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling.

Wide-ranging studies

Australia has been arguing that Japan’s whaling activities are purely for commercial purposes, with the aim of making profits by selling whale meat. In its counterargument, Japan has asserted that its whaling is for scientific research purposes and has never been in violation of international law.

In 1982, the International Whaling Commission imposed a moratorium on commercial whaling because of insufficient scientific data on whale populations.

Japan complied with the moratorium by imposing a freeze on its commercial whaling starting from 1987, although it has been carrying out whaling for “scientific studies” since then, as this is permitted by the international pact.

The subjects for study in research whaling are wide-ranging, including distribution of whale stocks, whale population trends and ecology.

Research operations are aimed at obtaining data about whales as marine resources with a view to resuming commercial whaling sometime in the future.

An accumulation of chemical substances has been detected in the skin and internal organs of minke whales examined by Japanese researchers, indicating the extent of seawater contamination in the Antarctic.

The studies also have revealed that the minke whale population has been on the rise year after year and the increasing number of whales are consuming such fish as saury, salmon and Alaska pollack in large quantities, adversely threatening fisheries industries.

Japan’s defense of research whaling before the International Court of Justice is quite reasonable, as it questions whether “all types of whale are on the verge of extinction and therefore sacrosanct.” Japan also says the surge in antiwhaling actions cannot be acceptable legally and scientifically, although it can understand the emotion behind these activities.

For its part, Australia has criticized Japan because “whale meat has been served at restaurants in Japan.” This criticism is wide of the mark, however.

Catches sharply dwindling

The whaling regulation convention has required that whales killed for scientific purposes should be processed as much as practicable. Using whale meat as a byproduct of research activities for food is in line with the spirit of the convention.

Whale catches in recent years are about 4,000 tons per year, incomparably smaller than the catches during the peak period of commercial whaling, which stood at about 220,000 tons a year in the 1960s.

Due partly to sabotage by the radical antiwhaling environmentalist group Sea Shepherd, whale catches recently dwindled further.

Japan strongly advocates the validity of research whaling as it is linked to the problem of determining how to maintain and manage marine resources.

Regarding this problem, attention should also be paid to the need to make preparations to deal with a future world food crisis.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, July 15, 2013)
(2013年7月15日01時31分  読売新聞)


« 13参院選 憲法改正 新たな国家像の議論を深めよ | トップページ | 食品ロス削減 消費者の意識改める第一歩に »





« 13参院選 憲法改正 新たな国家像の議論を深めよ | トップページ | 食品ロス削減 消費者の意識改める第一歩に »