On Monday, the International Court of Justice at the Hague ruled against Japan's Antarctic whaling operation, calling Japan's supposed research program "unscientific" and demanding its immediate halt. Japan agreed to accept the terms of the legally binding ICJ ruling, and although the decision applies only to the country's whaling operations in the Antarctic, it could lay the foundation for additional legal action that would limit research-based whaling in the future.
According to the Associated Press, Japan's other whaling operations could be in jeopardy as well:
Japan has a second scientific program in the north Pacific which culls around 100 minke whales annually. That program may now also be open to challenge because it was not covered in the Australian suit.
If another country does decide to challenge the scientific justification for Japanese whaling in the north Pacific, the ICJ is likely to maintain a similar standard for research that emphasizes non-lethal methods. But, as the New York Times points out, Japan now has the opportunity to "redesign" its whaling research operation in the south Pacific, which could effectively allow the country to circumvent today's ruling: