After a Japanese whaling ship entered New Zealand waters last week in pursuit of a vessel belonging to conservation group Sea Shepherd, the country's Prime Minister, John Key, said he would like an official apology, according to Australia Network News.
"That would be good," Key said. "We'll see what happens from here, but whether there's an apology -- we'll wait and see."
New Zealand had explicitly warned Japan from letting whalers enter their Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) -- an area that extends 200 miles off the shoreline of every country. While entering it is not illegal, NZ foreign minister Murray McCully earlier said that his country is strongly opposed to Japanese whaling in the southern oceans.
But Yoshihide Suga, Japan's chief cabinet secretary, defended his country's intrusion, saying, "We believe there was no problem with the movements of our ships from the point of view of international law. This ship was taking protective moves and intruded on the EEZ as one part of that."
Whaling has been banned internationally since 1986 when the International Whaling Commission imposed a moratorium on the practice. But Japan continues to whale based on the pretense of "scientific research" -- a claim which many conservationists question.