FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

To Whale or Not to Whale

by

The Japanese Foreign Ministry says Japan will abide by the verdict but the Japanese Ministry of Fisheries wants the “research” program to continue. The Institute for Cetacean Research, a government owned entity is saying that the Japanese whaling fleet will return to the Southern Ocean in 2015/2016.

The ICR will be petitioning a U.S. Federal Court in Seattle this week to request a permanent injunction against Sea Shepherd USA to prevent Sea Shepherd interventions against their illegal whaling operations in the Southern Ocean.

It is a move that makes little sense considering that Sea Shepherd USA withdrew from the Southern Ocean because of the temporary injunction granted to the whalers in December 2012.

However the ICR is now requesting that the U.S. Federal Court order Sea Shepherd Australia to abide by the injunction despite the fact that the U.S. Federal Courts have no jurisdiction over the activities of Sea Shepherd Australia.

Sea Shepherd USA has fully complied with the temporary injunction and will of course comply with a permanent injunction if issued.

In their submission to the U.S. Court the ICR states that they fully intend to return to the Southern Ocean for the 2015/2016 season. They expect the court to give them a permanent injunction to protect a whaling operation that the Japanese government has publicly stated will not take place.

What sort of games are they playing in Japan over this issue of whaling?

The Japanese whaling industry has a history of lying and duplicity with regards to whaling. In the Sixties, Japanese and Russian whaling fleets both under-reported kill figures every year, taking a third more whales than they reported.

Japan however is in a bind. If they ignore the ICJ ruling they risk undermining their own position should the ICJ be asked to rule on the dispute between Japan and China over the contested islands of Kita-Kojima and Minami-Kojima in the Senkaku Island dispute.

In the recent meeting between Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, the Australian leader said nothing about whaling, sending a message to Abe that Australia will no longer oppose Japanese whaling in Australian Antarctic Territorial waters.

Sea Shepherd Australia will most likely encounter obstructions from the Australian government if the whalers return. Japan may even seek an injunction in the Australian Federal Court although this is highly unlikely considering that the Japanese whalers are presently in contempt of the Australian Federal Court.

For Tony Abbott it is a dilemma. The people of Australia overwhelmingly oppose whaling in the Southern Ocean and he is supposed to represent the will of the Australian people despite his obsession for trade relations at all costs.

This week will decide if the U.S. Federal Court will grant a permanent injunction to the Institute for Cetacean Research. If they do, it will be because Japan has convinced the court that they fully intend to return to the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary to resume the killing of the whales.

Will a U.S. Court make a decision in defiance of a verdict by the International Court of Justice? It is highly unlikely.

Although what the granting of such an injunction will mean is difficult to understand because the injunction will only impact Sea Shepherd USA and Sea Shepherd USA has no intention of returning to the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.

Nonetheless the request for a permanent injunction has already heralded the reality that the ICR at least is planning on returning to the Southern Ocean in December 2015.

The other problem for Japan is their aging whaling fleet. They will have to make a decision soon to commission the construction of a replacement factory ship. This will be an enormous expense for an industry that has not made a profit in decades.

The ICJ gave Japan a face-saving way to exit from their embarrassing bogus research whaling scam. If they retreat now they will be able to say that it is because of their respect for the rule of law.

If they return they will be declaring to the world that they have little respect for international law and that they intend to do whatever they want, wherever they want, whenever they want.

This of course will be consistent with Japanese foreign and fishery policy for over a century.

Paul Watson is the founder of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

Weekend Edition
September 23, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
The Meaning of the Trump Surge
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: More Pricks Than Kicks
Mike Whitney
Oh, Say Can You See the Carnage? Why Stand for a Country That Can Gun You Down in Cold Blood?
Chris Welzenbach
The Diminution of Chris Hayes
Vincent Emanuele
The Riots Will Continue
Rob Urie
A Scam Too Far
Pepe Escobar
Les Deplorables
Patrick Cockburn
Airstrikes, Obfuscation and Propaganda in Syria
Timothy Braatz
The Quarterback and the Propaganda
Sheldon Richman
Obama Rewards Israel’s Bad Behavior
Libby Lunstrum - Patrick Bond
Militarizing Game Parks and Marketing Wildlife are Unsustainable Strategies
Andy Thayer
More Cops Will Worsen, Not Help, Chicago’s Violence Problem
Louis Yako
Can Westerners Help Refugees from War-torn Countries?
David Rosen
Rudy Giuliani & Trump’s Possible Cabinet
Joyce Nelson
TISA and the Privatization of Public Services
Pete Dolack
Global Warming Will Accelerate as Oceans Reach Limits of Remediation
Franklin Lamb
34 Years After the Sabra-Shatila Massacre
Cesar Chelala
How One Man Held off Nuclear War
Norman Pollack
Sovereign Immunity, War Crimes, and Compensation to 9/11 Families
Lamont Lilly
Standing Rock Stakes Claim for Sovereignty: Eyewitness Report From North Dakota
Barbara G. Ellis
A Sandernista Priority: Push Bernie’s Planks!
Hiroyuki Hamada
How Do We Dream the Dream of Peace Together?
Russell Mokhiber
From Rags and Robes to Speedos and Thongs: Why Trump is Crushing Clinton in WV
Julian Vigo
Living La Vida Loca
Aidan O'Brien
Where is Europe’s Duterte? 
Abel Cohen
Russia’s Improbable Role in Everything
Ron Jacobs
A Change Has Gotta’ Come
Uri Avnery
Shimon Peres and the Saga of Sisyphus
Graham Peebles
Ethiopian’s Crying out for Freedom and Justice
Robert Koehler
Stop the Killing
Thomas Knapp
Election 2016: Of Dog Legs and “Debates”
Yves Engler
The Media’s Biased Perspective
Victor Grossman
Omens From Berlin
Christopher Brauchli
Wells Fargo as Metaphor for the Trump Campaign
Nyla Ali Khan
War of Words Between India and Pakistan at the United Nations
Tom Barnard
Block the Bunker! Historic Victory Against Police Boondoggle in Seattle
James Rothenberg
Bullshit Recognition as Survival Tactic
Ed Rampell
A Tale of Billionaires & Ballot Bandits
Kristine Mattis
Persnickety Publishing Pet-Peeves
Charles R. Larson
Review: Helen Dewitt’s “The Last Samurai”
David Yearsley
Torture Chamber Music
September 22, 2016
Dave Lindorff
Wells Fargo’s Stumpf Leads the Way
Stan Cox
If There’s a World War II-Style Climate Mobilization, It has to Go All the Way—and Then Some
Binoy Kampmark
Source Betrayed: the Washington Post and Edward Snowden
John W. Whitehead
Wards of the Nanny State
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail