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.
Banging on drums and waving "Sayonara nukes" signs, thousands of people rallied in a Tokyo park and marched to Parliament on Sunday to demand an end to nuclear power ahead of the third anniversary of the Fukushima disaster. (scmp.com )
Japan plans to slash by half the amount of juvenile bluefin tuna taken from the Northern Pacific starting in 2015, compared to the 2002-2004 average, a Fisheries Agency source said Saturday. (Global Post )
Fewer than 40 pct of residents and commuters in Tokyo take specific measures to prepare for a possible huge earthquake beneath the Japanese capital, despite high awareness on disaster prevention, a Metropolitan Police Department survey showed Friday. (Jiji Press )
The man under arrest for fatally stabbing one man and wounding three others during a 10-minute rampage in Kashiwa, Chiba Prefecture, on Monday night, told police on Thursday that he wanted to hijack a plane at Haneda airport and fly it into Tokyo Skytree to take revenge on society. (Japan Today )
The man lauded as "Japan's Beethoven," who has admitted he never wrote his compositions, appeared before cameras for the first time since the scandal surfaced - clean-shaven and minus his trademark sunglasses. (abcnews.go.com )
The 24-year-old suspect in the murder of a man on a street in Kashiwa, Chiba Prefecture, on Monday is believed to have posted a profile online in which he identified himself as a "celeb NEET," meaning a celebrity without a job, according to local online news site J-Cast News. (Japan Times )
The proportion of single nonregular Japanese male workers in their 20s who have girlfriends stood at 18.7 pct in 2012, against 30.7 pct for regular employees, a government survey revealed Thursday. (Jiji Press )
Police in Kashiwa, Chiba Prefecture, on Wednesday night arrested a 24-year-old unemployed man over four knife attacks within 10 minutes that left one man dead and three others injured on a street. (Japan Today )