Just weeks after the International Court of Justice ordered Japan to cease its "unscientific" whaling program in the Southern Ocean, a fleet of whaling vessels has left port, intent to hunt along the country's northern coast in the Pacific. This is the first hunt since Japan was ordered to stop Antarctic whaling, which is banned under the International Whaling Commission.
Last year's hunt resulted in 319 whale deaths, while this year the quota has been scaled back a bit to 210 whales. The hunts are conducted under a loophole in the 1986 global moratorium, which allows Japan to claim the pretense of research for whaling in certain areas.
Japan has already filed legal briefs clearly stating their intent to continue to hunt whales in Antarctica in defiance of the ruling -- a move that outraged activists.
"The Japanese clearly intend to violate the intent, if not the letter, of the World Court's judgment," said Sea Shepherd USA's Director of Intelligence and Investigations Scott West. "They are making a mockery of the International Court of Justice and come before the U.S. Courts with very unclean hands. They are the first to cry foul when someone dares to challenge their lies, yet they expect the world to respect the court's decisions that are in their favor. They are poachers and operate without integrity."