COURT RULING CAUSES JAPAN TO CANCEL WHALE HUNT
Japan has cancelled an upcoming whale hunt in response to an International Court of Justice ruling that banned the country’s annual Antarctic whaling drive. Commercial whaling was prohibited in 1986, but Japan has continued to hunt the animals for years, ostensibly in order to gather scientific data. The recent ruling, handed down last Monday, rejected the nation’s claim that expeditions were for research purposes in a decision that amounts to a long-sought victory for environmentalists. Although the ruling does represent a significant step forward, it will not eliminate whaling altogether; according to Nanami Kurasawa, head of a Tokyo marine conservation group, Japan will still be able to continue research whaling under a redesigned program. Furthermore, while the Antarctic hunt has been cancelled, a fisheries agency official said that there are still plans to move forward with research whaling in other areas. For the full story, see http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/apr/03/japan-confirms-cancellation-annual-whale-hunt and http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/01/world/europe/united-nations-court-rules-against-japan-in-whaling-dispute.html.