New Zealand condemns Japan’s whaling decision

Press Release – New Zealand Government

Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully says Japan is isolating itself from the international community with its decision to resume whaling in the Southern Ocean.New Zealand condemns Japan’s whaling decision

Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully says Japan is isolating itself from the international community with its decision to resume whaling in the Southern Ocean.

Japan’s Minister of Agriculture has announced in Tokyo overnight that Japan intends to resume its Southern Ocean whaling programme over summer.

“Japan’s decision is increasingly out of step with international opinion. It is also entirely disrespectful of the strong concerns expressed by Australian and New Zealand people for whom the Southern Ocean is our neighbourhood,” said Mr McCully.

“We have been in regular contact with the Japanese government on this issue We have urged them not to return to the Southern Ocean this year. The whaling programme serves no useful purpose and deserves to be consigned to history,” said the Minister.

“The programme’s so-called ‘scientific’ purpose is highly dubious. There is not much appetite for whale meat on the Japanese market. The whaling fleet is getting old and requires increasing amounts of Government cash to keep it afloat.”

“New Zealand has tried very hard over the past three years to find a long term solution to whaling in the Southern Ocean. It is an environment which both New Zealand and Australia value and wish to protect. It is a sad reality but Japan’s decision makes it much harder for the diplomatic process to continue,” Mr McCully said.

Mr McCully also expressed alarm over the recent statements from the Sea Shepherd’s Paul Watson suggesting life threatening tactics would be employed by his vessels and Japanese suggestions their fleets would be accompanied by undisclosed security measures.

“The New Zealand Government has consistently urged all parties to act responsibly during the whaling season, and to avoid actions that may put their lives, or the lives of others, at risk or which may harm the Antarctic environment,” said Mr McCully.

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