Foreign Minister Gerry Brownlee says he’s concerned that Japan is driving towards overturning the long-standing global moratorium on commercial whaling.
“New Zealand is extremely disappointed that Japan has passed new legislation that commits to subsidising its whaling fleet,” Mr Brownlee says.
“Attempts to artificially increase consumer demand for whale meat are a step backwards for the conservation of whales.
“New Zealand will continue to reinforce our support for the moratorium on commercial whaling, which has been in place for over 30 years.
“The recent departure of Japan’s whaling fleet to the western North Pacific once again goes against the recommendations of the International Whaling Commission, its Scientific Committee and its expert panels.
“Japan is persistently failing to justify the need to kill whales in the name of research, in both the North Pacific and the Southern Ocean.
“Japan’s actions risk seriously undermining cooperation within the International Whaling Commission, which New Zealand continues to support as the forum to manage these issues,” Mr Brownlee says.
The International Whaling Commission was established in the 1940s as the body responsible for the conservation and management of whales.