EU and 12 other countries condemn Japan over whaling and reject claim annual slaughter is for research

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The international community has condemned Japan’s current whaling mission, and questioned the reason it has stated for plans to kill 333 minke whales in the Southern Ocean this year.

The European Union was joined by 12 other nations in its call for Japan to end its whaling programme, stating that it is “resolutely opposed” to commercial whaling.

Japan is a signatory to the International Whaling Commission’s (IWC) moratorium on whale hunting, but Tokyo continues to hunt the mammals each year under the claim it is for scientific research.

The current whaling mission, which left for the Southern Ocean last month, plans to kill 333 minke whales over a period of four months. Critics claim Japan’s lethal scientific research is a cover for commercial whaling, AFP reports.

“[We] jointly express [our] opposition to Japan’s continued so-called ‘scientific’ whaling in the Southern Ocean,” the EU and 12 other nations said in a joint statement. “We remain resolutely opposed to commercial whaling, in particular in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary established by the IWC.” 

Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Mexico, New Zealand, Panama, Peru and Uruguay are the 12 nations that joined the EU in condemning Japan’s mission.

New Zealand’s foreign minister Winston Peters said the statement “highlights the strong international disapproval of Japan’s continued whaling in the Southern Ocean contrary to IWC requests.”

He said New Zealand would continue to work closely with other IWC members seeking to have Japan “re-think what it is doing,” the New Zealand Herald reports.