Japan fails to lift whaling ban, threatens to quit IWC

Japan failed in its bid Thursday to lift a moratorium on commercial whaling at the end of a stormy annual meeting of the 75-nation International Whaling Commission (IWC) and warned it might pull out of the organization.

Japan fails to lift whaling ban, threatens to quit IWC
Japan failed in its bid Thursday to lift a moratorium on commercial whaling at the end of a stormy annual meeting of the 75-nation International Whaling Commission (IWC) and warned it might pull out of the organization.

"There is a real possibility we will review at a fundamental level our role in the IWC and this would include withdrawing, setting up a new organization," Japan's top delegate Akira Nakamae said.

Tokyo would also consider defying the two-decade ban and "unilaterally" carry out whaling along its exclusive economic zone, he said.

Japan decided at the talks Thursday to let its application to lift the ban allowing Japanese small-scale coastal communities to hunt whales to just lapse, refusing to call a vote on the issue.

The application was strongly opposed by anti-whaling nations, led by the United States, Australia, Britain, New Zealand and Brazil.

In another rebuff to the IWC, Japan also withdrew its bid to host the annual IWC talks in Yokohama in 2009, saying it made no sense to stage the talks in Japan when the commission refuses to support "sustainable" whaling.

"I think in any kind of patience, there is always a limit," said another senior Japanese delegate Joji Morishita, adding that anti-whaling nations left "no room for dialogue, no room for compromise."

He said Japan's "top priority" was to restore the traditional rights of its small coastal whaling community, who have depended on hunting as far back as the 17th century.

Japan has been campaigning to lift the whaling moratorium ever since it was imposed. But this year, it argued that its traditional coastal community have the same right to pursue whaling as natives in the United States and Russia.

Last Mod: 01 Haziran 2007, 13:01
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