Japan should remain in the International Whaling Commission and should stop all ‘scientific whaling’, National’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson Todd McClay says.

“Japanese media reports that Japan intends to leave the Commission and grant permits to its whaling fleet are extremely concerning. Currently the fleet operates in the Southern Ocean under the guise of ‘scientific whaling’.

“National supports the IWC’s moratorium on whaling that was agreed in 1986. Japan has insisted that its harvest is sustainable and based on long-standing cultural practices but it has persistently failed to justify the need to kill.

“The most effective way to keep pressure on Japan and remain in dialogue is for Japan to retain its seat at the IWC. Japan leaving the 72-year-old organisation would be a backward step in the conservation of these giant marine mammals.

“New Zealand must add its voice to the international opposition to Japanese whale harvest and National calls on the Government to take this up with Tokyo directly as soon as possible.”

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