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Japan considers curtailing Pacific Ocean whale hunt further: Media

Published on Apr 17, 2014 2:29 PM
 
Captured short-finned pilot whales are seen on the deck of a whaling ship at Taiji Port in Japan's oldest whaling village of Taiji, 420km south-west of Tokyo on June 4, 2008. Japan is considering scrapping a north-west Pacific whale hunt just days before the fleet's planned departure, the media said on Thursday, April 17, 2014, as the government grapples with its response to an international court ruling against its main whale hunt. -- FILE PHOTO: REUTERS

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan is considering scrapping a north-west Pacific whale hunt just days before the fleet's planned departure, the media said on Thursday, as the government grapples with its response to an international court ruling against its main whale hunt.

In a blow to Tokyo's decades-old and disputed "scientific whaling" programme, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) last month ordered a halt to its annual hunts in the Southern Ocean, prompting Japan to cancel its 2014-2015 Antarctic hunt, the programme's mainstay, as it pledged to abide by the ruling.

The judgment did not specifically mention Japan's other whaling hunts, one small-scale one off its coastline and the other across a wide swathe of the north-west Pacific during the spring and summer, with a quota of nearly 400 whales.

But Tokyo, trapped between the demands of pro-whaling lawmakers and international pressure from allies such as the United States, is considering calling off the Pacific hunt too, the Yomiuri Shimbun daily said. "The government is currently racking its brains about whether or not to allow the north-west Pacific whaling, set to start on April 22, to take place," the paper said, adding that the timing - with United States President Barack Obama scheduled to arrive in Japan on April 23 - was unfortunate.

 
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