The UN has ruled that Japan’s “scientific” whaling is not scientific at all and ordered it put to a stop, and Japan has obeyed – causing much wailing and gnashing of teeth amongst aggrieved whale hating nationalists who argue all this is part of barbarian efforts to destroy Japanese culture.
The UN’s International Court of Justice ruled on a case brought against Japan by Australia in 2010, with an aggrieved Australia arguing that all the “scientific” whaling Japan conducted in its neighbouring Antarctic waters was in fact just commercial whaling as virtually everyone already knew.
The court agreed, and ordered that Japan withdraw all Antarctic whaling permits and cease issuing new ones.
Japan – one of the biggest contributors to UN coffers and in general fairly obedient to its whims – immediately announced it would obey the decision and halt the whaling.
It did begrudgingly complain that the ruling was “truly unfortunate and deeply disappointing.”
Whilst it is commonly argued by Japanese whaling advocates that eating whales is a glorious Japanese tradition only barbarian foreigners could possibly object to, it is generally understood that Japan only started commercial whaling in the modern period and its commitment to keeping it going under the pretense of research had more to do with political symbolism and kickbacks to the fishing industry than scientific interest in cetaceans.
However, since the ruling applies specifically to Antarctic research whaling, hunting whales and dolphins in Japanese territorial waters would appear to be unaffected, and whether Japan will feel up to legal schenanigans or will be allowed simply to restart the program in a different ocean remains to be seen.
The ruling has riled nationalists who were evidently hoping Abe and company would flout international law in order to spite the hairy Australian whale-lovers:
“Withdraw from the IWC! This is a huge failure for Abe!”
“It couldn’t be helped, anyone could see it was not research whaling but small scale commercial whaling. The issue now is whether they stop or withdraw from the IWC and start it again.”
“Who cares, only the tiniest minority of people ever actually eat whale. It is not very nice either.”
“It’s a deliberate concession from Japan. If they obey a losing verdict from the ICJ it puts them in a very favourable light when it comes to being a good international citizen and putting further issues to the ICJ – like Takeshima. This will weaken Korea’s position!”
“Just ignore the ICJ, they can’t adjudicate anything properly. Get back to full scale commercial whaling!”
“If there are too many whales they will eat all the fish and you will no longer be able to get any sushi!”
“Boycott all ozzie beef!”
“They’ll just withdraw from the IWC and restart commercial whaling I expect.”
“I always wondered why it was not possible to count whale numbers without killing every one you counted.”
“It is good they put a stop to this. Virtually nobody here eats the stuff but it causes massive hatred of Japanese overseas. I have never even heard of anyone who actually ate dolphin. Kind of like how virtually nobody here gives a damn about Yasukuni but they insist on visiting it and fueling endless anti-Japanese propaganda in response.”
“At least they put Sea Shepherd out of a job.”
“Maybe they can attack Alaskan natives now.”
“Suck it up barbarian Japs!”
“So deeply disappointed!”
“Who really wants to eat whale that badly…”