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2011-09-06

Committee on Special Permit Research Whaling Interim Report ≪1/3≫

http://www.jfa.maff.go.jp/j/study/enyou/pdf/chukantorimatome.pdf
[The translation is not official.]

(P7)

III Concerning the course of Special Permit Research Whaling

  The committee agreed without any basic objections that whales are, based on scientific data, a viable and sustainable food resource, and that Japan’s Special Permit Research Whaling is “scientific research” as provided for in article 8 of the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling (ICRW), and hence a legal right..
   Besides, there was consensus that maintaining safety was essential, to the continuity of the survey in the Antarctic Ocean. However, opinions were divided over the following major issues.


1. On maintaining safety in the Antarctic survey with regard to harassment by anti-whaling NGOs


[ Each paragraph represents an opinion expressed at the meeting, not the consensus of the committee.]


● We cannot not give in to illegal violence by anti-whaling NGOs and end the Antarctic survey. Security measures should be taken, including dispatching the Japan Coast Guard to protect people’s lives and property, and guarantee the continuity of the program.

● While ensuring safety is essential, there is opposition to the dispatch of JCG vessels. There is the risk of escalation of violence in international waters, which, if it did not receive international approval, could damage Japan’s standing. The effect of such action on international feeling should be considered carefully as part of national strategy.


● Giving in so easily to these attacks will only encourage the NGOs to further activity; after the Antarctic, it will be the N. W. Pacific; after whales will come tuna. We have to make a stand somewhere. If Japan can’t defend itself directly, how about having a third party maintain security for the meanwhile?

(p8)

● Much more effort should be made through the IWC and diplomatic channels to increase understanding for Japan’s position on the survey and on handling harassment by NGOs. Without this understanding, the dispatch of JCG ships would damage Japan’s reputation.

● When Japan has brought up the topic of harassment by NGOs at IWC meetings, all the other member countries have condemned their behaviour, but even though resolutions have been passed to ask members to install appropriate measures to restrain the NGOs, it is a serious problem that neither the Netherlands or Australia (where the ships are registered), nor New Zealand (used as a port of call) have made even the slightest move in that direction.

● We should consider more aggressive appliance of the SUA treaty (Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Act against Vessels at Sea), both to prevent harassment by NGOs and to stress our legitimacy to the world.

● Additionally, it is important that we continue PR efforts, at home and abroad, on accepting that our whaling research is lawful and is being obstructed by the illegal activities of anti-whaling NGOs.

● On the other hand, a PR campaign could lead to a PR battle that might easily result in Japan’s being “used” by anti-whaling forces.

● The definition of ”piracy” in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) is far wider than that in the Japanese Anti-Piracy Law. We should inquire whether the NGOs’ harassment falls under the UNCLOS definition of piracy.

● On the other hand, international law assumes “pirates” to be the common enemy of international society, so we would be unlikely to gain international understanding by claiming that SS (Sea Shepherd) are “pirates” under that definition.

Translation
JWCS Volunteer staff: Nobuko Ishizuka, Simon Varnam

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