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.

News source: The Age

Apr 19 16,000 police mobilized to protect Obama
The National Police Agency will mobilize 16,000 police officers to ensure tight security during U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Japan from April 23 to April 25. (Japan Today )
Apr 19 Radiation exposure estimate for returnees released
The Japanese government on Friday issued estimates of how much radiation residents would be exposed if they return to their homes near the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. (NHK )
Apr 19 Japan to continue whaling in Pacific
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 )
Apr 19 Male cross-dresser arrested for assaulting 3 elementary school students
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 )
Apr 19 Japan, U.S. fail to narrow differences in TPP talks
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 )
Apr 19 Japan opens Imperial Palace to public
Japan opened the Imperial Palace to the public on Saturday, starting a string of special palace openings to celebrate the longevity of Emperor Akihito who turned 80 last December. (Jiji Press )
Apr 19 Murakami's new book hits shelves amid fan frenzy; more ordered
Haruki Murakami's first collection of short stories in nine years hit store shelves in Japan on Friday with excited fans lining up for the midnight launch. (Japan Times )
Apr 19 Japan virtual star Hatsune Miku to join Lady Gaga tour
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 )
Apr 18 Police officer arrested for sexually assaulting woman on train
A police officer has been arrested for assaulting a woman on a train car in Tokyo. Police identified the suspect as Akira Inada, 53, who works at the Ushigome Station. (Japan Today )
Apr 18 Homemaker joins Japan girl band AKB48
Japanese commercial music juggernaut AKB48 has added a 37-year-old mother of two to the wildly popular all-girl group as it looks to broaden the appeal of its teen-dominated line-up. (AFP )
Apr 18 Car being chased by police plunges into sea, killing driver
A man was killed after the car he was driving plunged into the sea while he was being chased by a police car in Kurashiki, Okayama Prefecture, on Thursday morning. (Japan Today )
Apr 18 Imperial couple hosts spring garden party
Japan's Emperor and Empress have hosted more than 2,000 guests at their Spring Imperial Garden Party. (NHK )
Apr 18 Man jumps to death from 8th floor of Foreign Ministry building
An employee of the Foreign Ministry jumped to his death from the 8th floor at the ministry, police said Thursday. (Japan Today )
Apr 17 Man in his 30s being questioned over murder of 7-year-old girl in 2005
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 )
Apr 17 6-year-old boy dead, 3-year-old girl in coma after being swept away in river
A 6-year-old boy died and a 3-year-old girl remains in a coma after they were swept away by a strong current in a river in Koriyama, Fukushima Prefecture, on Wednesday afternoon. (Japan Today )