Whaling decision is ours alone, Japan claims
The Age -- Jul 04
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.

Source: The Age
Aug 31
Police in Okazaki, Aichi Prefecture, arrested a man who held two hostages at knifepoint for five hours in a 7-Eleven convenience store on Monday morning. (Japan Today)
Aug 31
Students, mothers and other protesters staged rallies at more than 200 locations across Japan on Sunday, calling for the scrapping of controversial security legislation that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe wants to enact to strengthen the role of Japanese forces abroad. (Kyodo)
Aug 30
On an unseasonably cool day, thousands of scantily clad samba dancers marched through Tokyo's Asakusa district in a festival on Aug. 29, warming the crowds packing the roadside there. (Asahi)
Aug 30
Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto said Saturday he plans to establish a new political party possibly within the year, deepening the strife within Japan's second-largest opposition party. (Kyodo)
Aug 30
A recent series of cable fires at Japan Railway facilities in Tokyo has aroused a suspicion of serial arson, due to the abnormally high frequency of such an incident. (Jiji Press)
Aug 31
HIROSAKI, Aomori - The tower of Hirosaki Castle, a state-designated important cultural asset, is being towed dozens of meters away from its original location as part of a project to repair its stone walls. (The Japan News)
Aug 31
A one-year-old boy fell to his death from a 6th-floor apartment in Okazaki, Aichi Prefecture, police said Sunday. (Japan Today)
Aug 31
While chasing her dream of becoming an "idol," a junior high school girl named Moeka sounded less than confident among hopefuls vying to be chosen for the new Niigata Prefecture-based NGT48. (Asahi)
Aug 31
Ehime Prefectural Police on Friday arrested a 41-year-old male for dumping the body of his mother in Matsuyama City, reports the Sankei Shimbun. (Tokyo Reporter)
Aug 30
A rift has emerged in Japan's largest yakuza organised crime syndicate, the government said, with police warning Saturday that the split could lead to a wave of gang violence. (Japan Today)
Aug 28
Japan's Empress Michiko has enjoyed playing the piano to the singing voice of a prominent foreign soprano. (NHK)
Aug 28
Tokyo Metropolitan Police have launched a murder investigation following the discovery of the body of 25-year-old woman inside her apartment in Nakano Ward, reports Fuji News Network. (Tokyo Reporter)
Aug 27
Three men and two woman were killed after the minivan they were traveling in flipped over and slammed into the railing of a bridge in Asuka, Nara Prefecture, early Thursday. (Japan Today)
Aug 27
A bogus smartphone tip spreading through tweets is causing a headache for the National Police Agency as users have been tricked into dialing the emergency number 110 in at least 22 prefectures. (Japan Times)
Aug 27
As a part of an investigation into a car accident earlier this year in Utsunomiya City, an organized crime boss has been arrested for a firearms violation, reports Fuji News Network (Tokyo Reporter)