Japan announces withdrawal from IWC to resume commercial whaling

Japan on December 26, 2018, announced its decision to withdraw from the International Whaling Commission and said that it will resume commercial whaling from July 2019. The withdrawal will come into effect by June 30, 2019.

The announcement comes after Japan failed in a bid earlier this year to convince the IWC to allow it to resume commercial whaling. “We have decided to withdraw from the International Whaling Commission in order to resume commercial whaling in July next year,” said a top Japanese government spokesman.

Key Highlights

1. The withdrawal from the International Whaling Commission means that the Japanese whalers will be able to resume hunting of minke and other whales, which are currently protected by the IWC, in the Japanese coastal waters.
2. Japan clarified that commercial whaling will be limited to Japan’s territorial waters and exclusive economic zones and not in the Antarctic waters or in the southern hemisphere.
3. The withdrawal, however, means that Japan will not be able to continue the scientific research hunts in the Antarctic that it has been exceptionally allowed as an IWC member under the Antarctic Treaty.
4. The withdrawal also means that Japan will join Iceland and Norway in openly defying the IWC’s ban on commercial whale hunting.
5. Japan would officially inform the IWC of its decision by the end of 2018, which will mean the withdrawal, comes into effect by June 30.

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