April 13, 2015 / 9:46 AM / 4 years ago

International Whaling Commission panel opposes Japanese proposal

LONDON, April 13 (Reuters) - The International Whaling Commission’s (IWC) panel of experts on Monday said it opposed Japan’s proposal for its scientific research whaling programme, saying it did not demonstrate a need for killing whales.

The International Court of Justice last year ruled that Japan’s decades-old whale hunt in the Southern Ocean should stop, prompting Tokyo to cancel the bulk of its whaling for the 2014/2015 season and submit a scaled-down plan to the IWC for future hunts.

Responding to Japan’s latest proposal, known as NEWREP-A, the IWC’s expert panel said it could not support it, citing a lack of information on why it was necessary to kill whales.

“With the information presented in the proposal, the Panel was not able to determine whether lethal sampling is necessary to achieve the two major objectives; therefore, the current proposal does not demonstrate the need for lethal sampling to achieve those objectives,” the expert panel said.

Japan has long maintained that most whale species are not endangered and that eating whale is part of its food culture. Whale also served as an important source of protein for the impoverished nation after World War Two.

Japan began what it calls scientific whaling in 1987, a year after an international whaling moratorium came into effect, despite growing global opposition.

It also continues to run a separate whaling programme in the Northern Pacific that was unaffected by the international court ruling. (Reporting by Sarah Young and Elaine Lies; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

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