No agreement reached on Japanese whaling

Japan and Australia have failed to reach an agreement over whaling in the Southern ocean, with Canberra vowing to take legal action against Japan’s annual whale hunt.

Japanese foreign minister, Katsuya Okada, met his Australian counterpart, Stephen Smith, in Perth yesterday.

He expected his visit would reach a diplomatic solution over whaling, but the meeting ended with no breakthrough. However both sides said the issue will not hurt their strong bilateral ties.

The International Whaling Commission has banned commercial whaling since 1986. Japan claims its program of killing hundreds of whales a year in Antarctic waters is for scientific purposes.

Stephen Smith , Australian Foreign Minister, said, “The Australian Government has thought very careful about this issue and in the last week or so has come to the conclusion that Australia will pursue before the International Whaling Commission a proposal which would see whaling in the great Southern Oceans fazed out over a reasonable period of time. And that is a position we will put formally to the International Whaling Commission in the very near future, potentially as early as tomorrow.”

Katsuya Okada, Japan’s Foreign Minister, said, “It’s very unfortunate that the Australian side has indicated its intention to take action in an international court. Should the action become a reality, Japan will seek to represent its case to the International Whaling Commission in supporting the fact that its activities are legal and within the convention.”