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
May 27
Firefighters battled an apparent engine fire Friday on a Korean Air jet on the tarmac at Haneda Airport in Tokyo. All the passengers and crew were evacuated unharmed, Japanese media reported. (Japan Today)
May 27
U.S. President Barack Obama is set to visit Hiroshima on Friday, becoming the first American head of state to do so since the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the Japanese city in August 1945. (Kyodo)
May 27
A 19-year-old woman this week became the youngest Japanese to scale the world's highest peak, a mountaineering official confirmed Thursday. (Japan Times)
May 27
The Japan Meteorological Agency has announced its three-month forecast from the month of June until August. This summer, while sweltering temperatures will be experienced nationwide, western Japan, in particular, will be hit by an intense heat wave, the agency said. (Japan Today)
May 26
Hanako, Japan's oldest elephant who made headlines for spending most of her life alone in a concrete enclosure, died at 69 in Tokyo on Tuesday, NHK (May 26) reported. (Tokyo Reporter)
May 27
Saitama Prefectural Police have arrested two organized crime members for operating a grow house for marijuana in Soka City, reports TV Asahi. (Tokyo Reporter)
May 26
A utility knife sitting on the floor near an intoxicated man's bag caused quite a stir in a Tokyo subway station, NHK reported on Thursday (May 26). (Tokyo Reporter)
May 26
A Japanese man was arrested Wednesday in Thailand on suspicion of raping and sexually harassing a number boys aged between 13 and 15 in the country's northern province of Chiang Mai, investigators said. (Japan Times)
May 26
The Yokohama District Court on Wednesday handed an American male an 18-month prison sentence in the death of a woman in Miura City last July, reports NHK. (Tokyo Reporter)
May 25
A panel of Tokyo's Metropolitan Police Department came up with a report on Wednesday calling for legal regulations on the so-called JK business, in which high school girls offer such services as massage and dating. (Jiji Press)
May 25
A 46-year-old man was arrested Wednesday after taking a woman hostage and barricading an apartment in the western Japan prefecture of Ehime for over 16 hours, police said. (Japan Today)
May 25
A 1-year-old boy fell to his death from the 6th floor of his family apartment in Kyoto's Tsurumai city in an apparent accident, police said Tuesday. (Japan Today)
May 25
You know something has become a cultural phenomenon when it gets its own slang! (rocketnews24.com)
May 25
Osaka Prefectural Police have accused a chain of members-only restaurants of illegally serving the innards of a poisonous blowfish to customers, reports NHK. (Tokyo Reporter)
May 25
Nine Ground Self-Defense Force members shot as many as 79 live rounds at one another by mistake in an exercise in Hokkaido on Monday, the GSDF said Tuesday. (Japan Today)