Tokyo ( AsiaNews) - The two Japanese research Institutes which has hunted whales for over ten years for "scientific purposes" have asked the international community for permission to resume their program "in the near future". The Kyodo Senpaku and the Institute for Cetacean Research have also asked a court in Seattle, United States, for an injunction against the environmental movement Sea Shepherd which follow and target the whalers.
The decision to prohibit the practice was taken on March 31 by the International Court of Justice in The Hague. The International Tribunal pointed out that the excuse of "scientific reasearch " with which the Rising Sun has continued to hunt the giants of the sea "does not justify the number of whales killed". According to the Court , since 2005 the Japanese ships have killed 3,600 whales under the "Jarpa II" program.
The Japanese government has declared that it will respect the ruling, but added that it reserves the right to resume the hunt by changing its parameters . And the Kyodo Senpaku , which owns the entire Japanese whaling fleet, called on Agriculture Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi to allow the resumption of the program in the North Pacific "as soon as possible".
Whaling has long divided the international community . In 198 , Japan signed the international moratorium on this activity but has continued to hunt whales for "scientific research" . Norway and Iceland , however, have refused to sign the agreement and continue the hunt for commercial reasons. The moratorium excludes indigenous groups, which may continue to eat whale meat, but sets limits on the number that they can kill. Tokyo now has to choose between a halt to all hunting, review its scientific program - and therefore lower the number of whales killed - or withdraw from the International Commission that regulates the activity.