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April 13, 2015

International Whaling Commission Panel Finds Need for Japan’s ‘Scientific’ Whaling Not Demonstrated

Finding welcomed by Humane Society International

Humane Society International

  • A minke whale. Daniel Benhaim/iStockphoto

An independent expert panel convened by the International Whaling Commission has declared that Japan has failed to justify plans to resume its banned ‘scientific’ whaling in the Antarctic. Following an International Court of Justice decision last year deeming  Japan’s Antarctic whaling unlawful, Japan submitted revised plans to the IWC to kill up to 4,000 whales. The IWC panel’s report released today says that Japan has failed to provide sufficient information to determine whether or not killing minke whales was necessary in order to meet the research objectives.

Kitty Block, vice president for Humane Society International, welcomes the outcome from the IWC panel: “It has been clear since Japan first started its scientific whaling hunts due to the number of whales hunted and the marketing of the meat that the purpose was never truly research. Even now, after so many years and great effort on their part, Japan has been unable to convince a panel of experts that they have made a case for lethal take. This needs to also be seen in the context of the ruling from the International Court of Justice that Japan’s previous whaling program was illegal. Japan needs to recognize that its whale hunting defies science and international law.”

Take Action to Save Whales.


  • Japan proposes to kill 330 minke whales annually for 12 years in what it calls its NEWREP whaling programme - a total of 3,996 animals, in addition to the more than 13,000 whales killed under its existing scientific permits since 1987.
  • The IWC expert panel has asked Japan to develop a new work program with more scientific information, which could take several years.
  • Japan began its so-called scientific whaling in 1987, a year after the IWC introduced a global moratorium on commercial whaling.

Media contact: Raúl Arce-Contreras: 301-721-6440, rcontreras@humanesociety.org

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