A coalition of 35 countries voted in favor of stricter regulations on Japan's whaling program this week at a conference in Slovenia - creating a non-binding resolution which Japan has already vowed to ignore.
As part of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) meeting, New Zealand proposed regulations that would require approval by a committee for whaling countries to continue "scientific" whaling programs. The member countries present at the meeting voted, coming out with a 35 to 20 majority in favor of the regulations. While not binding by law, the vote represents a strong diplomatic message.
The regulations, in line with an International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruling in March that barred the country from whaling in the Southern Ocean on the grounds that the practice was unscientific, would prevent the country from whaling until 2016.
But Japan responded to the resolution with a shocking announcement that it would ignore the regulations and instead continue whaling in the Southern Ocean next year. The country said it took a different interpretation of the ICJ court ruling, arguing that it didn't bar whaling with an adjusted quota in the area. Japan said it would proceed with the hunt, which it announced earlier this week.