He believes that if Japan decides to withdraw from the International Whaling Commission (IWC), as it has proposed to do, "it will allow the IWC to pass the motion to establish the South Atlantic Whale Sanctuary thus effectively ending whaling in the Southern Hemisphere".
Suga said the decision to pull out of the IWC stems from overzealous practices by some countries to curb whaling altogether despite evidence that some species of whales are sufficiently abundant for hunting. "The government of Japan must urgently act to conserve marine ecosystems, rather than resume commercial whaling".
Previous media reports had indicated that government of Japan was considering pulling out of the IWC, but the announcement today formalises the countrys intentions to leave the organisation.
Greenpeace Japan said the decision was "out of step with the global community", and argued whale stocks and the oceans generally deserved better protection.
"So now Japan has turned their back on global efforts to manage whaling and conserve whales in order to kill whales outside worldwide control".
Japan will now join Norway and Iceland as rogue outlaw whaling nations in the North Pacific and the North Atlantic.
Australia and New Zealand, which have long campaigned against Japanese whaling, also admonished Tokyo. "There was never anything scientific about harpooning a whale, cutting it up and putting it on a plate", Burke said.
They're apparently going to stop killing whales in the Antarctic, basically admitting that all those years of "scientific research" were no such thing; if it was really "scientific research" to ascertain stocks for the resumption of commercial waling in the Antarctic, which is now (thankfully) not going to happen, Japan is admitting that all those thousands of whales who died frightful deaths under the harpoons (more often slow, excruciating death from bleeding or evisceration, or by rifle-shot), died for no reason at all.
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But doubts exist about whether Japanese commercial whaling can be economically viable, especially as fewer people than ever are eating whale meat, they said. He said that group was meant to facilitate the development of the whaling industry, as well as conserve whale populations.
Burke has called on the Australian government to seek legal advice on the implications of Japan walking away from the IWC and added that frustrations continue to simmer after Japanese whaling, under cover of science, went on a killing spree in May this year.
The Humane Society also said it's concerned that Japan's withdrawal could lead other IWC members to follow suit - possibly reviving the whaling industry and posing renewed threats to humpback, fin and other protected whales.
Wildlife groups say Japan's "research" whaling was a thinly veiled attempt to keep the industry alive, making sure boats, skills and a market for whale meat are maintained.
Leaving the IWC means Japanese whalers will be able to resume hunting in Japanese coastal waters of minke and other whales now protected by the IWC. "It has consistently failed but instead of accepting that most nations no longer want to hunt whales, it has now simply walked out".
Japanese Fisheries Agency official and long-time IWC negotiator Hideki Moronuki said Japan would use the IWC's method to carefully determine a catch quota on the basis of science, but declined to give an estimate.
Japan used to annually consume around 233,000 tonnes of whale meat in the 60s amid food shortages after World War II, but more recently it's been closer to around 5,000 tonnes - a fraction of what it used to be.
That argument was rejected by the International Court of Justice in 2014, when it ruled that Japan's Antarctic hunt had no scientific basis.
In September, Japan asked permission to hunt Antarctic minke whales, common minke whales, Bryde's whales and sei whales, citing IWC population estimates in the tens of thousands for three of the species and of more than 500,000 for the Antarctic minke.