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Australia, New Zealand urge Japan to respect anti-whaling ban

Published on Jun 10, 2014 11:30 AM
Workers butcher a Baird's beaked whale at Wada port in Minamiboso, southeast of Tokyo on June 28, 2008. -- PHOTO: REUTERS 

SYDNEY (AFP) - Australia and New Zealand on Tuesday called on Japan to respect a UN court order banning whale hunting in Antarctic waters, after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said he would increase efforts to restart the commercial activity.

The two countries hauled Japan before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in 2010 in a bid to end the annual southern ocean hunt, with the top UN court ruling in April that it was a commercial venture masquerading as research.

Abe told parliament on Monday he wanted to "aim for the resumption of commercial whaling by conducting whaling research in order to obtain scientific data indispensable for the management of whale resources".

New Zealand's Foreign Minister Murray McCully described the comments as "worrying", while Australia's Environment Minister Greg Hunt said his country remained opposed to commercial and lethal scientific whaling.

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