Greenpeace Australia Pacific BLOG

Japan to defy UN court and continue whaling

Posted on April 22, 2014 at 14:45 by Junichi Sato

Late Departure of Japanese Whaling Ship

There has been disappointing and worrying news today. The Government of Japan has announced that it intends to return to the Southern Ocean to hunt whales in 2015. It has also officially announced that it will again send its factory whaling ship to hunt whales in the North Pacific, although it plans to target fewer whales.

The announcement confirms that although no sperm whales will be targeted, Minke, Bryde’s and endangered Sei whales will be targeted in the North Pacific in the coming weeks. This news comes just weeks after this year’s Antarctic whale hunt was cancelled, following a March ruling by the UN’s International Court of Justice that it was illegal.

Japanese Whaling Fleet and Greenpeace Inflatables

That ruling clearly confirmed that so-called ‘scientific research’ whaling in the Southern Ocean was being done for commercial purposes. The judgment led to an urgent review of whaling plans by the Government of Japan, in the midst of international criticism, as well as some internal political pressure.

There have been other significant developments too: Japanese internet giant Rakuten announced it would stop selling whale meat after a campaign by our colleagues EIA, and shipments of endangered fin whale meat en route to Japan have been exposed, blocked, and challenged by Greenpeace in Europe, Africa, and Canada.

Recent media reports from Japan suggest there has been a frantic debate inside the Japanese government. The Government of Japan had already stated that the court case, despite focusing solely on Antarctic whaling, would have ramifications for the North Pacific hunt too. Today’s confirmation to carry on whaling comes just days before President Obama’s much-anticipated visit to Japan. It will surely cast a cloud on his conversations with Prime Minister Abe.

Man handles a pallet of boxes coming off the Nishin Maru, a ship operated by a private organization set up by Japan’s whaling industry and subsidized by the Fisheries Agency of Japan.

Man handles a pallet of boxes coming off the Nishin Maru, a ship operated by a private organization set up by Japan’s whaling industry and subsidized by the Fisheries Agency of Japan.

It’s a frustrating time for those of us campaigning to end commercial whaling. The decision to go ahead with these hunts will draw more international criticism for the Government of Japan, and surely raise questions inside Japan as to why so much political effort goes into keeping this dying industry alive.

This is an industry that should simply be consigned to the past, as stockpiles of unwanted whale meat and rapidly diminishing demand clearly show.

The international focus on continued commercial whaling on the high seas has stymied real international progress on whale conservation. Recent reports have shown that some whale species haven’t yet recovered from commercial whaling in the last century. That’s worrying when we consider all of the other threats, from climate change to ship strikes, that face the world’s whales today.

It’s clear that ‘scientific’ whaling as it has been carried out for many years cannot continue. Now Japan has a chance to stop these whaling expeditions for good. Carrying on as usual might well result in more damaging legal challenges undermining Japan’s international reputation. It’s too bad. The international community reacted so warmly to Japan’s seeming acceptance of the court judgment.

Slide2-600x450The UN court ruling, coupled with international criticism and plummeting demand for whale meat in Japan should give Japan an opportunity to end its whaling expeditions for good. Commercial whaling is simply not needed in modern Japan. Ending it might not be politically easy, but it’s the right thing to do.

Let’s all keep up the positive pressure to make sure it happens.


#AustraliansForCoal is the latest sign of an industry in values freefall

Posted on April 15, 2014 at 17:12 by David Ritter


 ‘The problem for coal is that it is the single greatest driver of climate change’. Photograph: Tim Wimborne/Reuters

Originally published in The Guardian

During the second world war, my dad performed his war service down the coal mines in the UK. The work cost him his sense of smell, but gave him a profound sense of camaraderie and regard for the men he served with down in the coal pits. Until the end of his life, my dad was proud of his modest contribution to the peoples’ war against fascism. (more…)

Twitter responds to #AustraliansForCoal

Posted on April 15, 2014 at 10:15 by Tom Ganderton

When the Australian Minerals Council launched their million-dollar pro-coal advertising campaign yesterday, Australians for Coal, they weren’t expecting this. They were trying to build a movement of people committed to supporting good ol’ fashioned coal to power Australia’s energy needs for the next 100 years and beyond. But the Internet had better ideas.

The public response to #AustraliansForCoal is not only incredibly funny to follow, it also demonstrates that people are acutely aware of the big risks that a dependency on coal poses for our climate, air quality, and beautiful natural wonders like the Great Barrier Reef. People want viable alternatives like solar and wind power to be embraced by our political leaders.

Scroll down and see our round-up of responses to #AustraliansForCoal below. And if you have any gems you’d like to share with us, just post them in the comments section underneath.


More cans than cigarette butts in clean-up campaign

Posted on April 14, 2014 at 10:57 by Ian Kiernan AO

Why is it every time I try to pay a visit to the managing director of Coca Cola I’m met by police? It started when a small group of us delivered bags of empty bottles and cans to then managing director Terry Davis at his office. It continued when I attempted, with a couple of Continue reading →

Thumbs up for 100,000 fans!

Posted on April 10, 2014 at 16:15 by Alex Harris

Today we celebrate a new milestone – 100,000 Facebook fans. While some of you may be thinking “oh, so what!” I wanted to explain why this is actually a significant achievement for digital activism. Why Facebook matters It’s just a ‘like’ right? Well actually it isn’t. By liking our page and posts, you’re helping spread Continue reading →

Consumer power! Procter & Gamble decides to wash its bad palm oil away

Posted on April 10, 2014 at 11:04 by Alex Harris

About 400,000 emails to Procter & Gamble CEO. Thousands of phone calls to P&G offices around the world. Dozens of protests throughout the planet. 7300 Sumatran orangutans at risk of being made homeless. As few as 400 tigers at risk of being made homeless. 620,000 hectares of forest potentially destroyed every year. These numbers summarize Continue reading →

Cash for Containers: it makes cents

Posted on April 08, 2014 at 16:32 by Isobel Marasigan

It’s not often you get a chance to talk directly to your State Premier about something you’re passionate about. But as chance would have it, on Monday night I was able to represent my local area and attend the NSW Community Cabinet Meeting as an advocate for a container deposit scheme.   South-West Sydney may not Continue reading →