Japanese still free to hunt whales in other oceans

THE decision confirming Japan's practice of whaling in the southern oceans was not "scientific" will not prevent the Asian nation's whaling practices in northern oceans.

In the Hague on Monday, the International Court of Justice handed down its final verdict in Australia's case against Japanese whaling practices, deeming them commercial, not scientific.

But while the court's decision prevents whaling in the southern oceans, Japan was still likely to continue similar practices in the north Atlantic.

The International Fund for Animal Welfare welcomed the judgement, but urged Japan and others whaling in northern oceans to stop.

IFAW's global whale program director Patrick Ramage said the Japanese government had a strong record of respecting international institutions.

"We respectfully urge Japan, Iceland and Norway, the last three countries still killing whales for commercial purposes, to accept that whaling has no place in the 21st century and to act in compliance with the judicial precedent set by the court today," he said.

"The market for whale meat in all three countries is in freefall; it is time they joined the rest of the family of nations in abandoning this outdated and uneconomic industry."

Attorney-General George Brandis said, despite the court dispute, relations between Australia and Japan remained "excellent", with the dispute showing the relationship could be maintained "not withstanding that difference".

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