Japan’s whale hunt is immoral

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Japan’s whale hunt is immoral

The top United Nations court finally sided with Australia on March 31, saying Japan should be deprived of its exceptional right to hunt whales in the Antarctic. The court found the amount of whales killed by Japan was so excessive that Japanese whaling was unlawful and inappropriate for scientific research, according to The Australian.

Japan has been walking a single path despite massive international criticism, clinging to its preposterous tradition of eating whales. However, it seemed that it would succumb to international order due to the UN court’s judgment and controversial issues surrounding its whaling practices.

Contrary to the speculation, however, Japan firms its opinion to make explorations for whaling out of its territorial waters except the Antarctic. Even though it has been only a few weeks that the UN top court made the ruling on Japan’s whaling, according to The Japan Times, the nation restarted a coastal whaling program with its vessels embarking from the territory.

Furthermore, Japan recently indicated the stance that it will modify existing whaling programs so that the nation could keep hunting whales in the Antarctic in 2015, which is obviously against the court’s ruling and might lead antiwhaling groups including Australians, New Zealanders and Koreans such as myself to severely condemn its response.

The Japanese have considered whale meat as a good source of protein from old times, and therefore eating it became a culinary tradition in Japan. Therefore, millions of whales have been killed for oil or meat not only in the Pacific Ocean but also in the Antarctic.

An International Whaling Commission banned commercial whaling in 1982. In spite of the ruling, Japan persisted that its whaling was for scientific research, and it sold the remaining meat to domestic markets so that consumers could eat whales. However, critics including Green Peace argued that Japanese whaling was completely against the International Whaling Commission’s moratorium since the scientific research was only an excuse for commercial whaling.

Japan has justified its commercial whaling by glamorizing it as the only way of passing on traditional culture. But the pretext turned out to be nonsense. According to The Japan Times, a recent survey proved that considering only 14 percent of Japanese seek whale meat for their dining, it does not seem much significant for most Japanese to keep circulating the meat in their own country.

Before Japan becomes entirely isolated from the world, it must end harpooning in both the Australian and Antarctic territorial waters and the Pacific Ocean. Japan should follow Australia’s moral stance against whaling and comply with international norms - not go against the current. Do not make a clumsy excuse for whaling anymore under the name of conserving custom culture. It has been already an outrage to Australians, this Korean, and the world.

By Cho So-jung, Student at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies

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