politics

New Zealand summons Japanese ambassador over whaling dispute

57 Comments

The requested article has expired, and is no longer available. Any related articles, and user comments are shown below.

© 2014 AFP

©2022 GPlusMedia Inc.

57 Comments
Login to comment

Why does a normal ship require the Japanese foreign minsitry's blessing transiting through EEZ which is within an nation's rights?

NZ it's not a warship and it was not wishing within the EEZ so it has not violated any international laws and/or regulations.

-15 ( +9 / -23 )

@Samurai EEZ is just what it means, if the whalers who are down there to TRY and make a profit, enter anothers country EEZ then they should state they are going to do so, or other countries entering Japans EEZ for the purpose of making a profit shouldnt have to either. its a two way street, not one way as the JGov seems to think

9 ( +18 / -9 )

"In a statement released late Sunday, it called the decision to ignore New Zealand’s wishes “unhelpful, disrespectful and short-sighted”.

What is also unhelpful, disrespectful and short-sighted is New Zealand supporting an Eco-Terrorist organization that engagers in acts of piracy. If New Zealand (and Australia) didn't do so there would have been no entry into it's EEZ in the first place.At New Zealand recognizes that as long as the whaling vessel wasn't conducting any whaling in the EEZ, it's entry and presence is entirely legal and there was no violation of any laws international or local.

-19 ( +11 / -30 )

@wtfjapan

No if they are just making a transit through then they have no obligation to meet any requirements by the EEZ holding nation. It's the same as if PRC war ship transitting through Japanese EEZ. Japan may not like it and can shadow the ships but Japan had not made any official demands over it.

-7 ( +8 / -15 )

New Zealand, Australia and other countries in the pacific also have whaling in their history, however due to the fact it almost decimated the whale populations they no longer take part, and support the International moratorium on whaling and the establishment of a Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.

Japan has chosen to ignore this completely and somewhat cheekily continue under the guise of research.

Its not just overly emotional unnecessary personification of animals here, it is a genuine concern about the stability and sustainability of an entire range of species of mammal.

Also Whale/Dolphin watching are important sources of revenues in the pacific too.

I suggest that to operate in this world requires compromise and working together, if Japan wants support for International issues, which seem to be increasing at an alarming rate in the region then perhaps they should participate in the International community more openly and not just when it suits.

11 ( +18 / -7 )

This was big news in NZ, coming two items after the story of a cricketer getting dropped because he'd drunk.

Whilst it's clear that some Kiwis care about whaling it's also clear that current government at least, see it as an annoyance as much as anything.

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

if they are just making a transit through then they have no obligation to meet any requirements by the EEZ holding nation

They are not 'just making a transit through', they are operating in support of Japan's illegal commercial whaling programme.

2 ( +11 / -9 )

Did the minister of NZ lose his mind? Foreign ships have freedom of navigation in EEZ of another nation.

United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea - Part V http://www.un.org/Depts/los/convention_agreements/texts/unclos/part5.htm

Article58

Rights and duties of other States in the exclusive economic zone

In the exclusive economic zone, all States, whether coastal or land-locked, enjoy, subject to the relevant provisions of this Convention, the freedoms referred to in article 87 of navigation and overflight and of the laying of submarine cables and pipelines, and other internationally lawful uses of the sea related to these freedoms, such as those associated with the operation of ships, aircraft and submarine cables and pipelines, and compatible with the other provisions of this Convention.

-4 ( +7 / -11 )

there's bloody unregulated mayhem on the high seas

No, that's just the SS

-3 ( +6 / -10 )

What further action can they take. Economic sanctions? Declare war?

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

Why is the Shonan Maru 2 chasing the Sea Shepherd ship? What "research" are they doing?

I suggest that the Shonan Maru 2 and its crew were up to no good and were planning to either ram the Sea Shepherd ship, try to disable it with wire cables or some other heinous activity. Such misdeeds are not permitted in the New Zealand EEZ and it is right that the Japanese have been chastised.

2 ( +12 / -9 )

I suggest that the Shonan Maru 2 and its crew were up to no good and were planning to either ram the Sea Shepherd ship, try to disable it with wire cables or some other heinous activity. Such misdeeds are not permitted in the New Zealand EEZ and it is right that the Japanese have been chastised.

Heinous activity? Finally we have a SS admitting that their actions from the past few years are heinous

-4 ( +8 / -13 )

What worries me most is the lack of very basic knowledge of international laws by New Zealanders. A politician may have half baked knowledge. But some official at Foreign Ministry or some expert should have stopped this embarrassing fiasco. They need to educate their officials and if the do not have knowledgeable international law professors inside, they need to borrow talent from UK or Australia.

-4 ( +7 / -12 )

Look around the world and look at Japanese action present and in the past. What does one see? A people and country that does whatever it wants with respect to others. Their is a right that every other country is expected to respect. Such arrogance needs to be taught a good lesson. Shut down all whaling. They have had decades to study whales. Unless they are really stupid there is no need to carry on.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Heinous activity? Finally we have a SS admitting that their actions from the past few years are heinous

Um, I'm sure he was referring to the "Shonan Maru 2"?

1 ( +7 / -6 )

It's an election year

1 ( +7 / -6 )

"What is also unhelpful, disrespectful and short-sighted is New Zealand supporting an Eco-Terrorist organization that engagers in acts of piracy. If New Zealand (and Australia) didn't do so there would have been no entry into it's EEZ in the first place"

By the same token it is even much more " unhelpful,disrespectful and short-sighted" from Japan to continue to ignore the position of most of the other "developed" countries and continue to engage in this unnecessary, uneconomical, taxpayer money wasting exercise that damages its mostly positive image on the world stage. If it didnt do so then there definately "would have been no entry into its EEZ in the first place".

4 ( +9 / -5 )

Um, I'm sure he was referring to the "Shonan Maru 2"?

I know he was, but he was accusing the Shonan Maru 2 of doing precisely what the SS has been doing for years. Heinous,

3 ( +9 / -6 )

Did the minister of NZ lose his mind? Foreign ships have freedom of navigation in EEZ of another nation

CHC3O

Re-read the Convention extract you have quoted. There is no permission stated there for foreign fisheries (and whaling) ships to undertake commercial activities in the EEZ. Shonan Maru No.2 is surely a commerical fisheries (and whaling) vessel 100% of the time.

-1 ( +7 / -8 )

*What worries me most is the lack of very basic knowledge of international laws by New Zealanders. A politician may have half baked knowledge. But some official at Foreign Ministry or some expert should have stopped this embarrassing fiasco."

Dont let it "worry you " too much :)....Im sure since it was NZ Foreign Ministry that called the Japanese ambassador in, they have a staff or two that have more knowledge about international laws than you give them credit for.

6 ( +10 / -4 )

they need to borrow talent from UK or Australia.

CHC3O

Japan did exactly the same thing last year in Australia's EEZ and Australia rightfully ordered the whalers out. Maybe Gaimusho Law of the Sea experts should be assigned to the Japanese fleets to help guide..

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-02-01/government-orders-japanese-whalers-out/4495166

3 ( +8 / -5 )

It is a chance for NZ to voice their disapproval of the unsustainable harvesting of mammals from the ocean's commons; a view shared by almost all civilised countries. NZ was within its rights to ask the Japanese government why a government sanctioned commercial activity was taking place in the EEZ - and posters above were correct to point out the complete difference between hunting the commons and the culling of animals bread through 1000s of years for that express purpose.

In Japan's ever losing battle to garner international favour and support for their bid to become a player on the international stage, it is these little battles which tarnish its image the most. It is a sad fact that many in the West simply do not trust Japan as political entity. With most of Asia allied against her... it seems the cheque-book may be Japan's only method of buying goodwill.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

People who don't like the anti whaling thing should stop calling it Eco-terrorism. Cause that sounds freakin awesome! It's the same thing as Avalanche from FF7. The Japanese govt being like Shinra. Snert snert. I can only assume that most westerners my age kind of think the term is cool. Especially since the "bad guys" are old crusty cigarette smokin Japanese sailors.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

What worries me most is the lack of very basic knowledge of international laws by New Zealanders. A politician may have half baked knowledge. But some official at Foreign Ministry or some expert should have stopped this embarrassing fiasco. They need to educate their officials and if the do not have knowledgeable international law professors inside, they need to borrow talent from UK or Australia.

what worries me most is that you might believe some of the certifiable nonsense you write on these boards

6 ( +12 / -6 )

It is a chance for NZ to voice their disapproval of the unsustainable harvesting of mammals from the ocean's commons; a view shared by almost all civilised countries.

It is sustainable.

NZ was within its rights to ask the Japanese government why a government sanctioned commercial activity was taking place in the EEZ

Sailing through a country's EEZ is not a commercial activity.

-4 ( +7 / -11 )

Why is the Shonan Maru 2 chasing the Sea Shepherd ship?

By assigning one harpoon ship to each SS ship, the whalers are able to relay the SS ships' positions to the factory ship, so that it can stay out of sight and carry on its bloody 'research' unobstructed. The good thing about this is that any harpoon ship chasing after an SS ship isn't chasing after whales.

there's bloody unregulated mayhem on the high seas

No, that's just the SS

It's not the SS that's poured gallons of blood and guts into the Southern Ocean.

2 ( +10 / -8 )

It is sustainable.

Actually, no one is entirely sure whether it is, but it does appear so. Here is the issue - when the moratorium was first introduced, they agreed on a re-assessment to see what the effect of the moratorium had on the whale stocks. Here is the provision in question:

Notwithstanding the other provisions of paragraph 10, catch limits for the killing for commercial purposes of whales from all stocks for the 1986 coastal and the 1985/86 pelagic seasons and thereafter shall be zero. This provision will be kept under review, based upon the best scientific advice, and by 1990 at the latest the Commission will undertake a comprehensive assessment of the effects of this decision on whale stocks and consider modification of this provision and the establishment of other catch limits.

In order to be able to test whale stocks, they made the loophole that allows for scientific study - the study that Japan currently practices.

Now the problem is that other countries have blocked the review that was supposed to happen at the latest by 1990. So no one actually knows for sure if the whaling is sustainable, because they will not allow the comprehensive assessment to determine whether or not it is. The effect of this refusal to allow assessment is that the Japanese have been able to continue doing scientific research to test whale stocks.

If the anti-whalers really want the Japanese to stop, they should force this re-assessment, which will once and for all determine whether whaling is sustainable or not, and if it is not, they should focus on closing the loophole that Japan uses. It's through their own refusal to follow through with the reassessment that has led to the current situation as it stands.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

In a statement released late Sunday, it called the decision to ignore New Zealand’s wishes “unhelpful, disrespectful and short-sighted”.

Making extra-territorial claims is also unhelpful, disrespectful of international law and short-sighted (cf. China air zone).

And NZ doesn't answer Cleo's call to put the whalers in leg-irons because NZ has no legal grounds, and knows it.

The foreign minister is bloviating for domestic consumption.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

MizuameFeb. 10, 2014 - 03:26PM JST

If you want to defend the legal position of NZ or Australia, go ahead and give me some legal ground. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-02-01/government-orders-japanese-whalers-out/4495166

Environment Minister Tony Burke said he had made it clear to Japan that vessels associated with the whaling program "are not welcome in in Australia's exclusive economic zone or territorial sea".

Does that make it illegal to travel in EEZ? Of course not. They really need to learn laws.

-3 ( +7 / -10 )

As I said before, it's an election year in NZ. The opposition are spouting off about it and so the government need to be seen to react.

But they consider the whole issue an annoyance, nothing more.

-1 ( +7 / -7 )

@Heda

It is sustainable.

That wasn't the case the last time the world embarked on commercial whaling. (see: the Tragedy of the commons if you read economics).

A commercial ship in an exclusive commercial zone can reasonably be asked if it is pursuing commercial activities. You may not know this... but the "research" claims are understood outside of Japan to be a nonsense.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

That wasn't the case the last time the world embarked on commercial whaling. (see: the Tragedy of the commons if you read economics).

They weren't looking at sustainability then. See Biotic Resource Management, whaling is a perfect case study to show it does work.

A commercial ship in an exclusive commercial zone can reasonably be asked if it is pursuing commercial activities. You may not know this... but the "research" claims are understood outside of Japan to be a nonsense.

It wasn't carrying out research. It was following an SS boat. That is not illegal.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

It is only 'sustainable' as most countries refrain from whaling. Just look at the state of commercial fishing and then explain to me how wholesale commercial whaling would be any different?... but write real slow as my post-grad degree in economics was admittedly almost 20 years ago now. And let's be honest - if Japan prove their case to continue whaling then it is only a matter of time before others join in (economics tells us this is so...).

As for the commercial whaling ship.... whatever it's doing, it is still a commercial ship in an EEZ.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

That's okay because my degree in environmental geography degree was 20 years ago.

There's a big difference between wholesale and sustainable. Sustainable is an agreed catch that won't damage the stock, the wholesale of the past didn't care about that and so isn't relevant.

A commercial ship is allowed to enter an EEZ. It can't fish or mine or similar but it is perfectly allowed to sail through.

-1 ( +6 / -8 )

The UN Convention is not intended to cover every aspect of the law relating to use of the sea, and fishing vessels in distant waters are covered by a number of other agreements. In the South Pacific, it has taken a long time for East Asian fishing vessels to respect the EEZ of small island nations, so Pacific nations have historical reasons to keep a close eye on foreign fishing vessels, and the region does have a number of agreements on international fishing.

Usually foreign fishing vessels respect these regional agreements and conventions (such as FAO agreements) and report their presence in a country's EEZ, or stick to a direct route when transiting through an EEZ to another fisheries area, without delay, and with all fishing gear stowed and not ready for deployment. The Shonan Maru II is a whaling vessel, and I have not heard that those functions have been disabled.

NZ is merely expressing displeasure at the way in which a Japanese government fishing vessel has disregarded these conventions. That is not a legal sanction, and is well within the rights of any country which finds a foreign fishing vessel within its EEZ for any reason other than transit.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Usually foreign fishing vessels respect these regional agreements and conventions (such as FAO agreements) and report their presence in a country's EEZ

The New Zealand embassy in Tokyo had been advised by Japanese officials late on Thursday Shonan Maru No. 2 was pursuing the Steve Irwin and might enter the New Zealand EEZ.

1 ( +7 / -6 )

NZ has 'clearly stated' any whaling vessels are not welcome in NZ waters. It is common diplomatic courtesy to abide by the wishes of nations coastal water rules. It;s simply, as they say, 'very disrespectful' and arrogant of the Japanese. NZ has a culture of respective of wild animals and does not tolerate the exploitation of them - NZ also has a very healthy whale watching industry.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

Japan seems to be second only to China with having EEZ disputes with the most countries...(PROC, Taiwan, Russia, ROKorea, and now New Zealand).

3 ( +7 / -4 )

igloobuyerFeb. 10, 2014 - 05:14PM JST

NZ has a culture of respective of wild animals and does not tolerate the exploitation of them - NZ also has a very healthy whale watching industry.

Do so within your territorial land and territorial sea. EEZ is not your territorial sea. You have to respect the right of travel of foreign ships and that is your legally binding treaty obligation.

-5 ( +5 / -10 )

@CH3CHO

Do so within your territorial land and territorial sea. EEZ is not your territorial sea. You have to respect the right of travel of foreign ships and that is your legally binding treaty obligation.

You seem to have confieniently ignored the first part of my post;

2 Good Bad igloobuyerFEB. 10, 2014 - 05:14PM JST NZ has 'clearly stated' any whaling vessels are not welcome in NZ waters. It is common diplomatic courtesy to abide by the wishes of nations coastal water rules. It;s simply, as they say, 'very disrespectful' and arrogant of the Japanese.

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

letsberealisticFeb. 10, 2014 - 06:00PM JST

It is against diplomatic courtesy to say "the ship is not welcome" in defiance of the treaty obligation to allow right of travel by foreign ships.

-3 ( +7 / -9 )

I'd just to see the meeting, Murray ("Flight of the Conchords") Hewitt style:

Murray: Okay, whaling meeting. Murray, present. Bret, present. Jermaine, present. Japanese ambassador, present. Alright, I haven't got time for your time-wasting.

[background scenery features NZ tourist promotion poster featuring the line "New Zealand: We have whales"

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Like I said CHO3, it might not be breaking any rules except those of common courtesy and respect for other nations when your ships are in their vicinity. Hardly, an act of good-will and diplomacy is it since there's no reason to pass through those waters.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

cleoFeb. 10, 2014 - 02:27PM JST "if they are just making a transit through then they have no obligation to meet any requirements by the EEZ holding nation"

They are not 'just making a transit through', they are operating in support of Japan's illegal commercial whaling >programme.

Whether the research Whaling program is illegal or not will be determined by the ICJ ruling. To call it "illegal" and "commercial whaling" before any judgement is made is ridiculous and irrational.

-2 ( +7 / -9 )

Japan’s annual whale hunt in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary – a hunt which targets more than 900 minke whales, 50 fin whales and 50 humpback whales each year. Many Nations participated in commercial whaling throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. However by the 1960s most of the world’s whale populations had been decimated and in many places it was no longer economically viable to hunt whales. Since 1986 the International Whaling Commission has imposed a moratorium on commercial whaling in an effort to support the recovery of whale populations. To enhance this effort the IWC established the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary in 1994. This was to provide whales with a safe haven from commercial whaling within their Antarctic feeding grounds. Japan, however, opposes the sanctuary and because the sanctuary only applies to “commercial whaling”, Japan continues to hunt whales claiming that it is done for scientific research(Everyone knows this is not for research they wouldnt have to kill them to research them).The lessons from past whaling may help to shed some light on the sustainability. During 1940 – 1960 Australian whalers reduced East Coast Humpback whale numbers to < 5% of their original population in just 14 years. Since the moratorium on whaling this population has recoverd by 10 – 20% per year and is now estimated at ~8000 whales. However, New Zealand and Fiji Humpback populations have shown little or no recovery. The recovery of other species has also been negligible. The antarctic blue whale still sits at only 3% of it pre-whaling numbers. The sustainability of Japan’s annual hunt on fin whales is doubtful. After the blue whale, fin whales are the largest of the whales and are presently classed as endangered with their population still at only 30% of their pre-whaling numbers. During the early 1900s whaling efforts targeted larger species of whales, such as the blue, fin, & humpback. It was not until the 1970s that the smaller minke whale was hunted – this was due to the depletion of large whale populations.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

David FoleyFeb. 10, 2014 - 03:37PM JST People who don't like the anti whaling thing should stop calling it Eco-terrorism.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is the one who labelled Sea Shepherd as Eco-Terrorists. You might notice that nobody calls Greenpeace, WWF, et al, Eco-Terrorists.

"Since 1977, when disaffected members of the ecological preservation group Greenpeace formed the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and attacked commercial fishing operations by cutting drift nets, acts of "eco-terrorism" have occurred around the globe. The FBI defines eco-terrorism as the use or threatened use of violence of a criminal nature against innocent victims or property by an environmentally-oriented, subnational group for environmental-political reasons, or aimed at an audience beyond the target, often of a symbolic nature."

http://www.fbi.gov/news/testimony/the-threat-of-eco-terrorism

-2 ( +7 / -9 )

While the vessel was LEGALLY ENTITLED to sail in the EEZ, the ministry said it had been made clear to Japanese officials before it entered the waters Friday that it was not welcome.

Apparently NZ believes that it's OK for the violent eco-terrorist, Netherlands-registered, Steve Irwin to travel thru it's EEZ because NZ supports violence as a means to an end. Shame on NZ and shame on Netherlands.

NZ is also aware, or should be, that international law allows vessels from other nations to travel thru their EEZ.

-4 ( +5 / -9 )

If the Japanese summoned the Chinese ambassador every time a Chinese ship violated the Japanese EEZ the ambassador would have to have a cot over at the Diet....

Face it, as long as the Japanese ship didn't do any commercial activity in the NZ EEZ then they have the right to traverse it. NZ is just making a fuss for no good reason. And yeah, they didn't say anything about the SS guys going through. Are they going to summon the Dutch ambassador next? Doubt it.

Japan should call their ambassador home for some consultation.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

@Heda re: sustainable vs. wholesale: -

And therein lies the problem. Economic rationality drives humans to ignore agreed upon sustainable catches in order to maximize utility. Which is why we have failed to keep catch limits sustainable in fishing (outside of very small, very isolated exceptions. Sustainability works against economic-rational behaviour).

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Not when it's regulated though. There are plenty of examples of catch limits being restricted for sustainability with huge penalties in place.

Exceed your limit - lose your right to fish. It's really quite simple.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

And let's be honest - if Japan prove their case to continue whaling then it is only a matter of time before others join in (economics tells us this is so...).

Then why are the anti-whalers always going on about how there's no market for whale?

0 ( +3 / -3 )

@ Heda: except that companies regularly break agreed upon regulations. And demand is constantly moving upwards; simple economics.

@ Nessie: The market for whale meat/blubber/oil will return quickly if the cost of substitute goods keeps increasing ( a certainty) and/or if whaling becomes normalised.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

It's not simple economics...

If you break the regulation - you suffer a penalty. I don't see any reason why that couldn't be your right to hunt.

According to the anti-whalers, demand is moving downwards.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

A bigger problem would be is that NZ had sent the wrong message that NZ EEZ is a safe heaven for SS ships being chased.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

@ Heda - no, the economics isn't really that simple and I certainly understand your point. I realise that there is a whole branch of sustainability economics devoted entirely to fishing. And, yes the demand for whale meat is declining. My point is that this situation could be reversed rather quickly if 'sustainable whaling" becomes normalised. Whales have a huge amount of usable resource on their large carcasses and that resource would easily be reaped when/if whaling becomes normalised.

My other point is that 'sustainable fishing" hasn't been shown to be successful outside of small-community groups (to the best of my knowledge - which is hardly exhaustive). Countries like NZ have 'apparently' sustainable fishing practices and yet our stocks are also plummeting; it's been a very long while since I read of any prosecutions on commercial whalers here. Indeed I haven't read of many (to do with harvests at least) anywhere for as long as I can remember. What makes you think that whaling would be any different. Economic behaviour dictates that in a commercial setting one entity will seek to take as much as possible under the assumption that their competitors will be doing the same (even if the evidence suggests they are not doing so... they still might 'Nash Equilibrium' and all that.)

I certainly am not a fan of whaling - but I cannot see how the rest of the fishing world would simply sit back and let a few nations 'enjoy' the harvest if the IWC is goaded into allowing whaling again. I don't think the evidence is there that I behaviour would be any different to the rest impact we've had on the rest of the oceans.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Interesting that you use NZ as an example. Many kiwis wrongly believe that the Minke whale is endangered. Many kiwis were up in arms when the amount of snapper they could catch was reduced.

But anyway, the IWC won't be goaded by anyone. Remember the purpose of the IWC is to provide for the orderly development of the whaling industry. Sustainable whaling would be a success for the members of the IWC.

But it won't just be a handful of nations that will be allowed to sustain. If the IWC deemed 5000 to be a sustainable number then countries would be eligible to take part of those 5000. If 50 of the world's nations wanted to hunt whales that would be 100 each. As regulated by the IWC. If 10 nations wanted to hunt whales, it would be 500 each.

Given the supposed outcry to hunting whales, it's more likely to be the latter than the former. But it's all managed sustainably. It really isn't difficult and one that can be managed annually thanks to the research of those nations.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

I think that Japan's blatant sponsoring of tiny nations who then decide to vote for them on the IWC qualifies as goading... or although I was probably being a bit mild.

I agree with all you write. I just don't get where your optimism that a sustainable quota will be adhered to - I think the evidence is overwhelming that it won't given our pretty rapacious appetites for 'more'.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites