Agriculture, Fisheries and Forest

Japan and the Management of Whales

June 11, 2019

1. Japan's basic position on whales and whaling

Japan, as a country putting great importance on the sustainable use of marine resources including Cetaceans, acceded to the International Convention on the Regulation of Whaling(ICRW) in 1951. For over 30 years, Japan has made constructive efforts to promote the governance of the management of whale resources in accordance with the objects and purposes of the ICRW, namely 'to provide for the proper conservation of whale stocks and thus make possible the orderly development of the whaling industry'. Nevertheless, although scientific evidence have confirmed that certain whale species/stocks of whales are abundant, those Member States that focus exclusively on the protection of whales, while ignoring the other stated objective of the ICRW, refused to agree to take any tangible steps towards reaching a common position that would ensure the sustainable management of whale resources. At the IWC meeting in September 2018, as can be seen from the rejection of Japan's proposal, orderly development of the whaling industry which is clearly mentioned in the Convention was not taken into account at all during the deliberations, and it unveiled the fact that it is not possible in the IWC even to seek the coexistence of States with different views. Consequently, Japan has been led to make the decision to withdrew from ICRW.

2. Japan's proposal for IWC Reform

Since 1970's, consultations and negotiations within the IWC have stagnated because of the conflicting views between pro-sustainable use countries and anti-whaling countries. As a result, IWC remains unable to fully contribute to neither the conservation nor the sustainable use of whale resources. In this context, Japan led the 'Way Forward of the IWC' process from 2016 and submitted a proposal for IWC reform to restore its function as a resource management organization and contribute to both the conservation and the sustainable use of whale resources. Japan is seeking its adoption at the 67th meeting of IWC.

Basic information about the Management of Whales

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