In commenting on the Draft Agenda, Japan noted that it believes that the Commission must devote as much time as possible to [The IWC in the Future] agenda item and that there is urgency to this matter. Noting the current conflicting opinions among Commission members that make it difficult to reach consensus decisions or to hold normal discussions, Japan stressed that unless this situation is changed soon, the collapse of IWC will be unavoidable. Japan considers that the process initiated by the Chair to resolve IWC's problems cannot continue indefinitely and wished, therefore, to remind other members of its statement made at IWC/59 last year concerning the real possibility that Japan would have to review the way it engages with the IWC at a fundamental level. It believes that a clear direction for the future of IWC should be determined and the procedures reformed by the end of the 61st Annual Meeting at the latest. Japan expressed the strong hope that other members will share its view and co-operate to advance the discussions concerning IWC's future.If the indications and language from Brazil, Australia and New Zealand are anything to go by, it seems likely that Japan and other like-minded nations are to be disappointed at IWC 60, without having to wait until IWC 61 for the big let-down. While it may be that others in the anti-whaling camp are more inclined to take a responsible approach towards this international organization (or persuaded to do so by the Chair), it is doubtful whether the threat of the IWC becoming irrelevant as a whaling regulation organization is of such a serious concern to the anti-whaling nations. The political risks for these nations associated with any possible compromise on their symbolic anti-whaling stance appear likely to outweigh any genuine concerns that they may have about present and future whaling activities.
'Ripeness' has been defined by the existence of a mutually-hurting stalemate, i.e. a situation in which the hurt which parties are enduring is greater that the hurt of solving it. Settlement then becomes a matter of 'how' and not 'whether'. He further noted that while 'ripeness' is not a pre-requisite, the likelihood of success is higher if it is present.Delegates from some of the contracting governments spoke to this later:
It was noted that for this to be the case there must be recognition that the current stalemate is mutually hurting. Some doubt was expressed as to whether this is in fact the case.As per my suggestion above, I concur with this. The hard-core anti-whaling nations do not appear to be hurting significantly or perhaps even at all because of the current situation at the IWC. On the contrary, many seem to benefit from it. Australia is the best example, with it's national elections last year seeing whaling become a prominent campaign issue. The hurt that does seem present is that that would be coupled with any compromise at a time when their new Prime Minister Rudd has been talking very big talk about bringing about an end to whaling full-stop. It does not seem politically feasible that Australian policy makers could opt to agree to any kind of compromise instead of remaining on the course that they are.
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