The United Nations' International Court of Justice on Monday ordered Japan to stop its whale hunting, dismissing the country's argument that the whaling is for scientific purposes.
"Japan shall revoke any existent authorization, permit or license granted in relation to JARPA II [research program] and refrain from granting any further permits in pursuance to the program," the International Court of Justice's Judge Peter Tomka said on Monday.
Whale hunting is forbidden worldwide after a 1986 International Whaling Commission (IWC) moratorium, but Japanese whalers still go on a hunt every year. Whale meat is available for human consumption in Japan. The Australian government challenged notion that Japan hunts whales for scientific study, which lead to Monday's ruling.
Environmentalist group Sea Shepherd, which uses direct tactics like chasing down Japanese ships in an effort to stop whalers from hunting, welcomed the court's decision.
“With today’s ruling, the ICJ has taken a fair and just stance on the right side of history by protecting the whales of the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary and the vital marine ecosystem of Antarctica, a decision that impacts the international community and future generations,” saidCaptain Alex Cornelissen of Sea Shepherd Global.
For its part, Japan said it would obey the decision, but it "regrets and is deeply disappointed" by it.