By Brooks Hays
"They have said that they're going to limit it to Minke whales, but from our point of view that's no improvement," John Frizell said.
At the 65th meeting of the International Whaling Commission, which begins today in Portoroz, a port city in the southwest of Slovenia, Japan is expected to unveil the details of its latest whaling program in the Southern Ocean.
Japan briefly ceased their whaling operations around Antarctica earlier this year after the International Court of Justice declared their program unlawful. Despite a 1968 international moratorium on whaling, Japan has hunted and killed whales in Antarctica for decades -- taking advantage of loopholes that allow for scientific whaling operations.
But less than a month after the court's March ruling -- a ruling which dismissed Japan's claims that their hunting was scientific in nature -- the island nation announced its intention to begin a new whaling program.
Japan is expected to detail its new whaling program at the IWC meeting today, and although it's not clear exactly how, the country will attempt to restructure its operations to abide by the legal demands of the IJC ruling.
"They have said that they're going to limit it to Minke whales, but from our point of view that's no improvement," John Frizell, an oceans campaigner with Greenpeace International, told Australia's ABC News.
But international leaders at the IWC meeting are hoping their governing body will back up the court's ruling and enact a stricter definition of what constitutes scientific whaling -- closing loopholes that Japan has long taken advantage of. New Zealand is set to submit a motion to do just that.
Australia has voiced its support of stricter regulations and sanctions that might prevent Japan from going back to business as usual.
"Australia will vote to make sure there's a permanent ban on whaling and to uphold the International Court of Justice decision," Greg Hunt, Australia's environmental minister, told Radio Australia.
"This time we come armed with an International Court of Justice decision and our hope and our belief is this is the moment when the world can respectfully work to end the practice of commercial whaling or scientific whaling which has been justified where as in reality it's simply commercial whaling by another name."