88 countries of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) will meet in Slovenia next week in the organisation’s first summit since Japan controversially restarted its Antarctic whale hunt. Australia is about to launch a fresh diplomatic drive to expose Japan’s claim to kill whales in the name of science – Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg will lead Australia’s delegation and argue for countries to adopt a new rule for stronger and more transparent scrutiny of Japan’s scientific whaling claims. In a joint effort with New Zealand, Australia also wants to force a public debate on the merits of scientific whaling, rather than deferring discussion to the mostly closed-door meetings of its “scientific committee”.
Japan last year partially withdrew from the jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice at The Hague to prevent any further challenge on whaling, and issued new guidelines that Tokyo claims justify killing more than 4000 whales in the next decade. Japan exploits a provision of the commission’s treaty that allows “scientific whaling”, and the Institute of Cetacean Research in Japan also hosts a website to promote whale meat recipes.