Australia and Japan in court battle over whaling

THE HAGUE (Reuters) – Australia accused Japan of carrying out commercial whaling under the guise of scientific research on the first day of court hearings between the two nations that campaigners say could lead to an end to whaling in the Antarctic. Tokyo says it is carrying out essential scientific research – allowed by a 1946 treaty on whaling – to establish whether whale stocks are recovering from past overfishing. Earlier this week, Japanese diplomat Noriyuki Shikata said the research was sustainable. “There are about 515,000 minke whales in the Antarctic, and Japan’s research is taking only about 815 a year,” Shikata said. [email protected]

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