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Japan’s sei whale meat sales judged as violating conservation treaty

  • October 2, 2018
  • , Jiji Press , 11:59 p.m.
  • English Press

Sochi, Russia, Oct. 2 (Jiji Press) — An international conservation committee ruled on Tuesday that Japan’s domestic commercial distribution of meat of sei whales caught for scientific purposes violates the so-called Washington Convention, advising the country take corrective steps.

 
The convention, formally called the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, lists sei whales as one of the most endangered species and prohibits their commercial trade, although the treaty allows catches for scientific purposes.

Japan has been catching them to study their population and ecology. After the study, meat of the sampled whales have been sold to the market to raise funds for further research.

During the committee meeting in the southern Russia city of Sochi, representatives from many countries, mostly antiwhaling nations, said that the meat sales should be taken as commercial trade.

After the session, a Japanese government source said it was regrettable that Japan’s stance of putting emphasis on the importance of research whaling was not understood.

“But now that the decision and the advisory have been made, we’ll take corrective measures accordingly,” the source said.

Japan agreed not to hunt sei whales or issue certificates necessary to bring captured sei whales into the country until the next standing committee meeting in Sri Lanka in May 2019, in which corrective measures Japan was asked to report to the committee’s secretariat by Feb. 1 will be examined.

If the committee judges such measures as insufficient, it will take a forcible step against Japan, people familiar with the matter said.

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