Australia condemns Japan for whale hunt

Australia has threatened Japan with diplomatic action over its whaling programme, after Japan reportedly dispatched its whaling fleet in the Southern Ocean for what Tokyo calls a scientific expedition.

On Saturday, Tony Burke, Australia’s environment minister, condemned the move by Japan, describing the claims that its whaling programme is for scientific research as “a joke”.

The Australian government has been a long-time critic of the activities of Japan’s whaling fleet in regional waters, and initiated legal proceedings against the whaling programme in the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in May 2010.

Burke told reporters in Sydney that he did not expect a response from the ICJ until “sometime next year,” but called on Japan to respect a moratorium on whaling in the Southern Ocean.

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