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.
Tokyo prosecutors are searching the house of a former aide to Lower House member Yuko Obuchi over the recent political funds scandal. The scandal drove Obuchi from her post as Economy, Trade and Industry Minister. (NHK)
Former Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda said Wednesday he had a "nice meeting" with Chinese President Xi Jinping, less than two weeks ahead of a gathering of Asia-Pacific leaders in Beijing where there is a window of opportunity for the two countries to thaw icy relations. (Kyodo)
Japan came in 104th in the World Economic Forum's gender equality rankings for 2014, up from 105th the previous year but still far behind other major industrialized nations, the Geneva-based group said Tuesday. (The Japan News)
In spite of a recent fall in organized crime membership, Fukuoka Prefectural Police on Monday released a manga comic to discourage participation in yakuza gangs, reports the Nishi Nippon Shimbun (Oct. 27). (Tokyo Reporter)
Monday marks exactly one month since Japan experienced its deadliest volcanic eruption in decades. The eruption of Mount Ontake in the central part of the country killed 57 people. 6 others are still listed as missing. (NHK)