Humane Society International said that Australia has a duty to stop Japan from killing any more whales from the Australian Whale Sanctuary.

HSI Director Michael Kennedy calls it “amusing” that Japan seems to respect the process required under the International Whaling Convention to authorise scientific whaling while it ignores international law, the Scientific Committee of the IWC and the international community at large.

Japan earlier notified the International Whaling Commission about the New Scientific Whale Research Program, “prepared in accordance with the Article 8 of the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling and Paragraph 30 of its Schedule.” Japan decided to start its NEWREP-A from this austral summer.

The Article VIII Japan refers to apparently allows legal killing of whales. “Contracting Government may grant to any of its nationals a special permit authorizing that national to kill, take and treat whales for purposes of scientific research subject to such restrictions as to number and subject to such other conditions as the Contracting Government thinks fit,” it says.

According to HSI, Japan is going to kill 333 whales this season. The program started on Dec. 7 and will continue until March.

Australia has strongly opposed Japan’s decision to execute such a program. Foreign Minister Julie Bishop is going to meet with Japan's Environment Minister Tamayo Marukawa on Tuesday.

“Given that Australia has put out a public statement in opposition to the decision, I anticipate that that will be a matter of discussion between us,' Bishop told reporters.

According to Kennedy, Australia should send a Customs vessel to observe the Japanese whaling fleet and to take any legal action which is open to them under International law.

“With the Federal Court handing down a considerable legal precedent last month, finding Japanese whaling company Kyodo guilty of contempt of court and imposing a $1 million fine, the Australian Government has a duty to ensure that no further whales are killed in the Australian Whale Sanctuary,” he said.

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