By Kevin Heath
Papers filed by Japan’s Institute of Cetacean Research against the Sea Shepherd organisation in the US courts yesterday (Friday 11th April) indicated that Japan may be returning to the Antarctic for whaling in 2015. This would mean that Japan is set to redesign its JARPA II programme to abide by the decision of the International Courts of Justice.
Alternatively it could just be that Japan is continuing with its legal action against the Sea Shepherd NGO in order to keep its options open.
The document filed with the United States District Court says that Japan intends to return to the Southern Ocean with a research programme that meets the requirements of the courts.
While the Institute of Cetacean Research has confirmed the filings of the papers to the courts it is not making any further comment on the situation about the possible restart of the Japanese research programme.
While there are fears among conservationists that Japan could be taking just a short break from whaling in the Southern Ocean other experts suggest caution against jumping to conclusions.
Australia National University law professor told Australian media that Japan may have stated plans to restart whaling in the court papers because if they said they would be abandoning whaling then the courts could consider that in any decision they made in the case against Sea Shepherd and increase the chances of finding against the Institute.