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Japan’s Antarctic whaling is temporarily halted by international court

Posted Mar 31, 2014 11:59 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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The International Court of Justice has ordered a temporary halt to Japan’s Antarctic whaling program.

The court ruled against Japan in a dispute brought by Australia, which accused the country of using a loophole to avoid a 1986 moratorium on commercial whaling, the New York Times reports. The court concluded that special whaling permits issued by Japan were for commercial purposes rather than scientific research, according to the Associated Press and ABC News.

The court said Japan’s research was not proportionate to the number of whales killed, ABC says.

Japanese Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesman Noriyuki Shikata said Japan "regrets and is deeply disappointed" by the ruling, AP says. Shikata said Japan will abide by the decision "as a state that respects the rule of law ... and as a responsible member of the global community.”

The decision won’t end whaling, AP says. Japan has a second, smaller scientific program in the northern Pacific that wasn’t part of the challenge. In addition, Norway and Iceland have rejected the whaling moratorium, and continue to hunt whales.

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