Govt to drop whaling case against Japan

The Rudd Government is likely to abandon it’s legal case against the Japanese Government over illegal whaling in the southern oceans.

News Limited newspaper report that legal partner New Zealand is likely to pull out of the legal process as a tactic in stopping whaling.

Both nations were to mount a legal challenge against Japan over the whaling.

New Zealand now says it has discovered “significant difficulties” in pursuing the case through the International courts.

Foreign Minister Stephen Smith says Australia will now need to assess whether it continues independently against Japan.

It comes amid the backdrop of both the Foreign Minister and Prime Minister’s trip to Japan, with Mr Rudd due to travel to Tokyo in June.

Environment Minister Peter Garrett took a hard line against the Japanese operations in the southern oceans, slamming whalers for their activities.

Australia’s own relationship with Japan came under pressure when the Rudd Government deployed a number of monitoring craft, including a ship and aircraft, to collect evidence against the whalers.

Japan maintains that it’s whaling activities are for scientific research purposes only, however this has been met with significant skepticism.

Due to the efforts of activists, including Sea Shepherd and Greenpeace, Japan took home only half of it’s intended annual catch this year.

A decision on the legal case will be made soon.