On February 1, 2013, the Australian Government launched a protest against Japan and its whaling endeavors in waters near Australia. The protest has been launched after a ship from a Japanese whaling fleet entered its exclusive economic zone near Macquarie Island. Canberra is strongly against whaling and legal action has been sought against the Japanese whaling vessel.
Tony Burke, the Environment Minister for Australia said, “The government strongly objects to whaling vessels passing through Australian territorial seas or our exclusive economic zone”. Burke added that Australia has several times made it clear to Japan that vessels associated with its whaling program are not allowed in Australia’s exclusive economic zone or territorial area.
The Embassy in Tokyo has conveyed the sentiments directly to the government of Japan. Japan has said that it conducts important scientific research by slaughtering whales, with the help of a loophole in the international ban on whaling. However, it is no secret that ultimately the whales are being consumed as food in Japan.
The Fisheries Agency of Japan said that it was aware of the Australian statement, but when he was asked to confirm whether a ship had entered the Australian zone, an official said that they were just carrying out a mission under the international law. The officials declined to comment further.