What’s Australia’s role?
By federal law, Australia has established an area called the Australian Whale Sanctuary that protects whales, dolphins and porpoises. The area extends to parts of the Antarctic, which Australia has a claim to.
Japan does not recognize Australia’s claim to the Antarctic territories, and ignores it.
In 2010, Australia took Japan to the International Court of Justice, accusing it of illegal commercial whaling. This case led to the 2014 judgment that forced Japan to cancel Jarpa II.
In 2015, an Australian court fined the Japanese whaling company Kyodo Senpaku 1 million Australian dollars, or $750,000 at current exchange rates, after finding it was in contempt of court. The punishment, however, is not enforceable without the cooperation of the Japanese government.
Professor Rothwell said he believed the Australian government was reluctant to prosecute Japan further.
“If a case seeking to enforce Australian law went before the International Court of Justice, Australia’s claim to Antarctic territory could be directly contested,” he said. “That is not something Australia wants to see happen.”
Why does Japan need to kill whales for science?
It’s not clear.
In 2015, an expert panel from the International Whaling Commission tried to answer this question.
The panel said it was “not able to determine whether lethal sampling is necessary” for Japan to achieve its scientific objectives.