Japan to Withdraw from the International Whaling Commission

Japan has announced its decision to withdraw from the International Whaling Commission (IWC). The withdrawal would enable Japan to resume commercial whaling activities.

Japan has said that it would undertake commercial whaling  from July 2019 limited to Japan’s territorial waters and exclusive economic zones. As per the announcement, Japan would not undertake whaling activities in Antarctic waters or in the southern hemisphere.

Why the withdrawal?

The Japanese government was trying hard to persuade the IWC to allow its commercial whaling operations. IWC refused to budge and rejected the proposal of Japan.

Japan has said that since most whale species are not endangered and that eating whale is a part of its culture, Japan has been forced to withdraw from the IWC.

With the withdrawal Japan joins Iceland and Norway in openly defying the organization’s ban on commercial whale hunting.

International Whaling Commission (IWC)

The International whaling commission was set up under the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling which was signed on 2nd December 1946 at Washington DC. The IWC aims at providing for the proper conservation of whale stocks and make possible the orderly development of the whaling industry.

IWC is accompanied by legally binding schedule which sets out specific measures that the IWC has collectively decided as necessary in order to regulate whaling and conserve whale stocks. Schedule can be amended by at least three quarters majority agreement unlike convention.

Conservation measures advocated under the schedule are catch limits (which may be zero as it the case for commercial whaling) by species and area, designating specified areas as whale sanctuaries, protection of calves and females accompanied by calves, and restrictions on hunting methods.

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