See More on Facebook

Culture and society

Japan eyes return to commercial whaling

Japan plans to withdraw from International Whaling Commission to resume commercial whaling.


Written by

Updated: December 21, 2018

With the aim of resuming commercial whale hunting, Japan is likely to withdraw from the International Whaling Commission, it was learned Thursday.

The government is planning the departure as there is no prospect of resumption as things stand now, due to the moratorium on commercial whaling adopted by the IWC. Japan has nevertheless observed the moratorium. It is expected its departure will be opposed globally, particularly among anti-whaling nations.

The IWC was set up for the purpose of the conservation and sustainable use of whales. Currently it has 89 member nations, including Japan. The majority of members are against whaling.

The IWC adopted the moratorium in 1982 to preserve whales and Japan suspended commercial whaling in 1988. Whale meat currently sold in Japan is obtained as a “by-product” of whaling research in the Antarctic Ocean and the Northwest Pacific, except for imports from Iceland and elsewhere.

Japan has tenaciously asserted at IWC meetings that commercial whaling will be resumed for certain species whose populations are found to have sufficiently recovered based on scientific data obtained through whaling research.

Yet whaling and anti-whaling countries have clashed over the matter. A situation described by a government source as “the IWC being unable to decide anything on resource management” has been continuing, even causing doubt over the IWC’s significance as an international organization.

At an IWC general meeting held in September in Brazil, Japan proposed commercial whaling be partially resumed. Anti-whaling countries were strongly against the proposal, stating that a partial lifting of the moratorium is absolutely unacceptable. As a result of bitter debate, the proposal was voted down. Japan’s proposal was backed by 27 nations and opposed by 41, while two abstained.

In response to being voted down, the government delegation expressed the possibility that Japan could withdraw from the IWC, saying, “If the IWC does not permit any form of commercial whaling and there is no potential for two different stances or ideas to coexist, Japan cannot help but assess all possible options.”

If Japan notifies the United States — which is entrusted with managing the IWC’s withdrawal and joining process — by the end of this year of its wish to withdraw, Japan would pull out on June 30 next year.

It is very unusual for Japan to withdraw from an international organization. There are also cautious views of withdrawal within the government. Taking those matters into consideration, the government is making final adjustments for the process and timing of leaving.

Currently, four countries — Iceland, Norway, Canada and Indonesia — conduct commercial whaling of 13 species covered by the IWC moratorium, including blue whales.



Enjoyed this story? Share it.


The Japan News
About the Author: The Japan News is published by The Yomiuri Shimbun, which boasts the largest circulation in the world.

Eastern Briefings

All you need to know about Asia


Our Eastern Briefings Newsletter presents curated stories from 22 Asian newspapers from South, Southeast and Northeast Asia.

Sign up and stay updated with the latest news.



By providing us with your email address, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

View Today's Newsletter Here

Culture and society

Japan Olympic chief denies corruption allegations

The president of the Japanese IOC says there is nothing to worry about. Tsunekazu Takeda, president of the Japanese Olympic Committee (JOC), on Tuesday rejected allegations of corruption related to Tokyo’s successful bid to host the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, telling a Tokyo press conference, “There’s nothing to be suspicious of.” Takeda, 71, made the remark after French judicial authorities launched a full-scale investigation into suspicions that Takeda, who was then head of the bid committee, was involved in the corruption. The JOC told the media before the press conference that it would not hold a question-and-answer session, on the grounds that the French investigation was ongoing. Takeda read out a prepared statement instead. According to French media, the focus of prosecutors’ investigation is whether a total of about ¥230 million (


By The Japan News
January 16, 2019

Culture and society

South Korean defense paper doesn’t label north an enemy

Ministry also says the north has specialized battalion for assassination of key figures. The Defense Ministry does not directly refer to North Korea as an enemy and takes a less hostile tone toward the communist state in its 23rd white paper published Tuesday. The ministry’s latest biennial white paper — the first to be published since the Moon Jae-in administration came to power in 2017 — addresses security threats, military policies and the regional security environment. Perhaps most notably, the Defense Ministry eliminated the phrase specifically describing North Korea as South Korea’s “enemy,” a move that appears to reflect


By The Korea Herald
January 16, 2019

Culture and society

Huawei to end employment of staff arrested in Poland for spying

Huawei has been accused by countries of spying for Chinese government. Huawei announced on Saturday evening that it would terminate employment of Wang Weijing, who was detained in Poland on suspicion of spying, CCTV reported. Wang’s alleged actions have no relation to the company, according to Huawei. “In accordance with the terms and conditions of Huawei’s labor contract, we have made this decision because the incident in question has brought Huawei into disrepute,” said Huawei. “Huawei complies with all applicable laws and regulations in the countries where it operates, and we require every employee to abide by the laws and regulations in the countries where they are based,” said Huawei.


By China Daily
January 14, 2019

Culture and society

Read the Reuters special report that landed their journalists in jail

Myanmar’s attempt to silence and discourage the press must be called out. After the rejection of the appeal by the two Reuters journalist, I call on Asia News Network readers to share and read the report that got them there. “On Sept. 2, Buddhist villagers and Myanmar troops killed 10 Rohingya men in Myanmar’s restive Rakhine state. Reuters uncovered the massacre and has pieced together how it unfolded. During the reporting of this article, two Reuters journalists were arrested by Myanmar police.” Read more: https://www.reuters.com/investigates/special-report/myanmar-rakhine-events/


By Cod Satrusayang
January 14, 2019

Culture and society

Reuters journalists to remain in jail

Myanmar court rejects appeal against 7-yr sentences; ruling decried as another injustice. This Reuters report originally appeared in the Daily Star.  A Myanmar court yesterday rejected the appeal of two Reuters reporters sentenced to seven years in jail on charges of breaking the Official Secrets Act, saying the defence had not provided sufficient evidence to show they were innocent. Wa Lone, 32, and Kyaw Soe Oo, 28, were convicted by a lower court in September in a landmark case that has raised questions about Myanmar’s progress towards democracy and sparked an outcry from diplomats and human rights advocates. “It was a suitable punishment,” said High Court Judge Aung Naing, referring to the seven-year prison term meted out by the lower court. The defence has the option of making a further appeal to the country’s supreme co


By Daily Star
January 14, 2019

Culture and society

Indian Army does not want LGBT service members

The Indian army chief said that the Indian Army is not ready to accept homosexuals in its service. India’s army chief General Bipin Rawat told reporters on Thursday that the Indian armed forces was not ready to have homosexuals in the service despite a law which decriminalized homosexuality being passed last year. “For LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) issues, in the Army these are not acceptable,” Rawat told reporters during an annual press briefing. “We are neither modernised, nor westernised. LGBT issues are not acceptable to us.” India’s Supreme Court decriminalized gay sex in a unanimous ruling last September prompting massive celebration for the country’s gay community. The law, known as Section 477 of the criminal code, had existed since the colonial period and similar vestiges of British rule exist throughout South and Southeast Asia.


By Cod Satrusayang
January 11, 2019