Throughout of scientific research and so far

Throughout history, the Japanese have been known to have a large whaling industry, but with the creation of laws or regulations that only legalized “scientific whaling,” the Japanese have had to adjust how they whale. Since 1946, when the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling (ICRW) passed the first whaling laws, Japan has enacted many whaling programs with the intent of scientific research and so far every program has been suspended by the ICRW after further review of the programs revealed that the whales were not all being used scientifically. (Berggren, Childerhouse, Friday, 2003, para 5). Many other countries and international committees have taken issue with Japan over whaling, some of the issues include the lethal methods that the whales are taken or the amount of special whaling permits the Japanese allows itself. Despite all of the attempts to slow the Japanese, they still have an annual whaling quota in the thousands. Although Japan claims they are following international whaling laws for scientific research, the Japanese government is violating international laws and regulations because they are whaling for purposes other than research.Japan claims they are following international laws and regulations even though it has been shown that they are exploiting a loophole in the whaling laws. According to the International Fund for Animal Welfare (2015), “Japan approves its own permits for scientific whaling without any external scrutiny or need for explanation”(Puiu, para 10). The problem with this is that since no one is keeping Japan in check, they can issue as many permits as they want as long as they claim that all the whales are going to be used for scientific research. Because of this, more and more whales are being unnecessarily killed and it is difficult for the International Whaling Commission (IWC) to order Japan to stop their “scientific whaling.” According to Amy Catalinac (2005), the Japanese government views the whaling dispute as “a threat to resource security and also a danger to inter-state respect for differences in custom and cuisine” (para 2). Due to past custom and cuisine, the Japanese government sees whales as an integral part of their culture and it seems they will do almost anything to keep their whaling programs going. This provides incentive to find and take advantage of the loophole while claiming to still follow the law. Even if Japan is somehow forced into halting their current scientific whaling program, nothing is stopping them from just starting another scientific whaling program under a different name.In the past century, several international committees have worked towards ending non-scientific whaling but they are finding it hard to force the Japanese to abide by the laws. According to Peter Sand (2015), a retired professor of international law, the beginning of Japan’s modern scientific whaling practices occurred when the ICRW stated that whaling is illegal except for “scientific purposes” (p. 2). Japan has taken advantage of this exception clause and is currently producing permits for more than 1,400 whales a year and obviously they don’t need, and certainly aren’t using, this many whales for scientific purposes. An infographic by ABC News (2014), which shows how many whales different countries have killed since the whaling ban in 1985, reveals that Japan has killed twice as many whales as the next closest country and about 15 times as many as the United States.  Although the ICRW has passed laws regarding whaling, it is hard to enforce them because Japan feels like the ICRW doesn’t have effective authority over them. According to political activist Thomas Hayden (2000), the bigger obstacle for Japan to overcome in their whaling is the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) who has a legally binding ban against selling and buying whale products (Begley & Hayden, para. 3). While many species of whales are on the list, Japan argues that they don’t all qualify for that special protection so therefore, they will not abide to it. This problem is spiraling out of control as now other countries, such as Russia, are preparing to enter the whaling industry and these international committees certainly don’t have the power to keep all of them in line with the “law.”To take a stand against Japanese whaling, many countries, including Australia, have either taken legal action against Japan or passed laws that condemn products of the Japanese whaling industry. In 2010, Australia started legal proceedings against Japan’s scientific whaling program, JARPA II, and in 2014 the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled in favor of Australia (12-4) and stated that JARPA II did not fall within the provisions set by Article VIII of the ICRW (Scott & Oriana). Australia, frustrated with the obviously illegal whaling by the Japanese, took action and while they found a short-term solution, it didn’t fix the problem in the long-term. The fact that the ICJ ruled against Japan almost unanimously shows how unpopular the Japanese whaling programs are among the entire world, and that should be reason enough to pass more stringent laws against the Japanese. According to the US Fish and Wildlife Service, the United States passed the Pelly Amendment in 1971 which allows the president to embargo wildlife products whenever it is certified that, “a foreign country is engaging in trade or taking that diminishes the effectiveness of an international program in force with respect to the United States for the conservation of endangered or threatened species” (para. 3). The whales hunted by the Japanese fall under this amendment, as a result, the United States is against the Japanese whaling and is setting a precedent that many countries should follow behind. A more radical approach to the situation would be the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society which is an organization that is known for their direct action against whaling, sometimes in the form of piracy and is “willing to take action where others will not” (Stuart, Thomas, Donaghue, et al.). There are many ways for countries to defy the doubtful scientific whaling of the Japanese, some decide to take legal action while others may just ban the products of the industry which directly hurts Japan’s whaling programs. Although the Japanese claim that their whaling practices fall under the exception clause in Article VIII of the ICRW, it is hard to ignore the signs that they are whaling for other purposes. Even when Japanese whaling programs are suspended by international whaling committees, the Japanese just start a new scientific program under a different name. Currently, Japan is in the midst of figuring out their whaling situation after Australia took them to the ICJ and demanded that they stop their lethal and illegal whaling. A possible way to resolve this situation once and for all is to form a new international committee to issue whaling permits and those who whale without permits face legal issues and heavy fines.