"Minister Smith expressed his concern about Japan's research whaling, and said that they would like us to stop it. I explained to him that research whaling is perfectly legal. At the same time, we had a request from IWC Chair Hogarth, who said "I want to fix the IWC which is not fulfilling it's function. I want Japan, which is the vice-chair, to cooperate. I want Japan to reconsider it's hunting of humpback whales for as long as we are making efforts to fix the IWC". And because of this I relayed to Minister Smith that Japan "as the vice-chair wishes to cooperate in fixing the IWC. And regarding chair Hogarth's request about humpback whales, Japan has determined to postpone the hunt of humpback whales while it's judged that the IWC is making moves towards normalization."While Chief Cabinet Secretary Nobutaka Machimura denied that the decision was made out of consideration for Australia's recent complaints on the matter, Japanese news reports and general response in certain internet discussion forums have seen speculation that this move was a "cave in" to anti-whaling protest, particularly from Australia which had announced it would send a patrol vessel to monitor the Japanese research whaling fleet.
"Chair Hogarth was thinking this could be for 1 to 2 years, but as for the Japanese government, it means the period of time during which the Japanese government judges that progress is being made towards normalization. If we are able to judge that there is no progress at all, then it means we will have a different situation".
"It is an extremely good decision. It will bring a better atmosphere to future discussions".However, in Japan the leading fisheries newspaper, the Minato Shinbun suggests that the move is a part of Japan's "last try" to normalize the IWC.
"The chair country (USA) and Japan which is the vice-chair agreed to postpone the catch. The aim is to alleviated the heightened tensions that prevail amongst various governments at the current time".
Labels: IWC Normalization
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