Last month, the Japanese government announced their withdrawal from the International Whaling Commission (IWC) and their intention to officially resume commercial whaling in its territorial waters and exclusive economic zone.
As an IWC member since 1951, Japan had recently proposed establishing a council to determine sustainable catch limits for whaling, but the proposal was voted down in September at an IWC summit in Brazil. In December, the Japanese government released an official statement declaring their withdrawal from the IWC and return to commercial whaling next July.
According to Greenpeace Japan:
“It’s clear that the government is trying to sneak in this announcement at the end of year away from the spotlight of international media, but the world sees this for what it is. The declaration today is out of step with the international community, let alone the protection needed to safeguard the future of our oceans and these majestic creatures. The government of Japan must urgently act to conserve marine ecosystems, rather than resume commercial whaling.
“As a result of modern fleet technology, overfishing in both Japanese coastal waters and high seas areas has led to the depletion of many whale species. Most whale populations have not yet been recovered, including larger whales such as blue whales, fin whales and sei whales.
“The world’s oceans face multiple threats such as acidification and plastic pollution, in addition to overfishing. As a country surrounded by oceans where people’s lives have been heavily reliant on marine resources, it is essential for Japan to work towards healthy oceans. Japan’s government has so far failed to resolve these problems.
“As the chair of the G20 in 2019, the Japanese government needs to recommit to the IWC and prioritise new measures for marine conservation.”
Many governments have urged Japan to return to the IWC, please help us join our voice with them and with Greenpeace to tell Japan to rejoin the IWC and cease commercial whaling for good.