Japan says it plans to continue with its annual whale hunting campaign in the the Northwest Pacific this year. The announcement comes less than a month after an international court ruled that whalers must cease their deadly activities.
In light of the recent court order, "deeply disappointed" Japanese officials agreed to suspend whaling operations in 2014 -- but only in the Southern Ocean. The UN's International Court of Justice (IJC) ruling does not specifically state that it applies to whale hunts conducted elsewhere.
The annual Northwest Pacific hunt, although lesser-known, has been deadlier than its counterpart in the Antarctic.; last years hunt resulted in the deaths of 319 whales. Rueters reports that this years hunt would be scaled back slightly, with a proposed quota of 210 whales.
Japanese officials continue to tout these hunts as ‘scientific' endeavors, usurping an international moratorium on commercial whaling in place for decades.
Yoshimasa Hayashi, Japan's Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries said the ICJ's ruling doesn't ban the use of whales as a resources, adding that "based on this... and in line with international law and scientific principles, our nation will carry out research whaling to get the scientific information essential to manage whales a resource."