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
Feb 10
Japanese actor Ken Watanabe was diagnosed with an early-stage stomach cancer, his agent said Tuesday, adding the actor, who starred in a Broadway musical in 2015, has already undergone endoscopic surgery to remove it. (Kyodo)
Feb 10
A humanoid robot is offering boarding information to passengers at Tokyo's Haneda Airport. (NHK)
Feb 09
All Nippon Airways Co. and Japan Airlines Co. will scrap fuel surcharges for their international flights from April to reflect the plummeting cost of jet fuel. (Asahi)
Feb 09
The yield on the 10-year Japanese government bond turned negative for the first time ever Tuesday afternoon amid global financial turmoil, with Japan becoming the second country after Switzerland with a negative benchmark long-term interest rate. (Kyodo)
Feb 09
The Chinatown district of Yokohama, south of Tokyo, has begun events to celebrate the start of the Chinese Lunar New Year. (NHK)
Feb 10
Police in Tosu, Saga Prefecture, have arrested the manager of a yakitori restaurant on suspicion of attempting to rob the establishment on Jan 15. (Japan Today)
Feb 10
Tokyo Metropolitan Police have busted of a bar in the 2-chome gay quarter of Shinjuku Ward for licensing violations, reports TV Asahi (Feb. 10) . (Tokyo Reporter)
Feb 10
The Japanese government decided at a cabinet meeting Tuesday to withdraw its recommendation of Christianity-related historic facilities and sites in Nagasaki and Kumamoto prefectures for addition to the UNESCO World Heritage List. (Jiji Press)
Feb 10
Officers of the Metropolitan Police Department's special weapons squad subdue a "terrorist" during a counterterrorism drill at Tokyo Dome on Tuesday. (the-japan-news.com)
Feb 09
Tokyo Metropolitan Police have arrested a 39-year-old man for assaulting and robbing a female prostitute inside a hotel in Shibuya Ward last year, reports the Sankei Shimbun (Feb. 9). (Tokyo Reporter)
Feb 09
Following a stabbing incident that left one woman dead and another injured, Hokkaido Prefectural Police announced on Monday that a 30-year-old man is wanted in connection with the crime, reports the Yomiuri Shimbun (Tokyo Reporter)
Feb 09
An armed man dressed as a woman robbed a pedestrian on a street in the city of Ogaki, Gifu Prefecture, but returned some of her cash before fleeing the scene, police said. (Japan Today)
Feb 08
Police in Toda, Saitama Prefecture, have arrested a 71-year-old woman on suspicion of setting her son's room on fire. (Japan Today)
Feb 08
A Rolls-Royce Phantom, one of the most luxury cars in the world, has been put up for sale on an online auction by the National Tax Agency. (Japan Today)
Feb 07
The Japanese mob has been trying to dominate Japan's talent agencies for years. Now one yakuza has stepped forward to tell the story. (thedailybeast.com)