Japan has claimed a clear and indisputable legal right to determine alone how it will conduct its Antarctic scientific whaling, at the International Court of Justice.
Whatever sympathy might be felt for whales, the global treaty on whaling had a crucial proviso that it was up to each member government to grant their citizens special scientific permits to take whales, Japan's counsel Alain Pellet said.
"The terms of article eight (of the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling) are unambiguous," said Professor Pellet, of the University of Paris Oeust.
"The decision-making power rests with the state party concerned," he said. "Not to be a subject of multi-lateral decision-making...This is a discretionary power that article eight grants to state parties."
Professor Pellet was responding in The Hague to Australia's plea for the ICJ to halt the program, as disguised commercial whaling that has killed more than 10,000 whales.
Japan replied this week alleging that Australia was on an alarmist crusade intended to impose Australian cultural preferences over the Japanese.
On Wednesday the Japanese legal team moved to broaden its defence before the court.
Professor Shotaro Hamamoto described the current Japanese program, known as JARPA II, as the most comprehensive research program ever carried out on whales and the Antarctic ecosystem.
It had concrete research objectives, and gained support from the International Whaling Commission's scientific committee, particularly in a 1997 review, said Professor Hamamoto, of Kyoto University.
Japan will go ahead with research whaling in the northwestern Pacific for fiscal 2014, but by reducing catches following an International Court of Justice ruling that ordered the country to stop whaling in the Antarctic Ocean, the Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Ministry said Friday. (The Japan News )
Kanagawa prefectural police said Friday they have arrested an unemployed 42-year-old man on assault charges for allegedly attacked a 10-year-old elementary school boy and two others as they were playing in Yokosuka City in February of this year. (Japan Today )
Japan and the United States ended their three-day ministerial talks in Washington on Friday on the Trans-Pacific Partnership multilateral free trade initiative, being unable to narrow differences over Japanese tariffs in key farm product categories. (Jiji Press )
Hatsune Miku, a computer-generated Japanese pop star who performs as a hologram, is to support some of Lady Gaga's tour of North America next month, the U.S. songstress has announced on Twitter. (Japan Today )
Tochigi prefectural police said Thursday that they are questioning a man in his 30s over the murder of a 7-year-old girl in December 2005. Japanese media quoted police as saying that the man, who was arrested for dealing in fake brand-name goods, has hinted at his involvement in the murder. (Japan Today )