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The Australian government is hopeful court action will stop Japan's annual hunt, but Tokyo is expected to mount a vigorous defense of its whaling program. Canberra says the hunt breaches international laws, including a global moratorium on commercial whaling, and has no relevance to marine conservation.
Japan maintains that its activities are legal and have genuine scientific and cultural objectives.
If the court sides with Australia, the justices could order Japan to scale back its whaling operations to the point where they are no longer viable. Critics argue there is little more Japan can conclude about sustainable whale populations after carrying out its research in the decades since the international moratorium was established.
Japan also insists its whaling operations are ecologically sustainable, and it does not hide the fact that the resulting meat is sold commercially. Tokyo defends the practice of eating whale meat as a culinary tradition.
Sales proceeds partially pay for the whaling program. Experts say its decision, which could come by the end of the year, will be legally binding. The annual hunt in the Southern Ocean has also seen increasingly heated confrontations between the whaling fleet and conservationists in recent years.
Court papers say Japan killed some 6, Antarctic minke whales between andafter the moratorium came into effect, compared to whales for research purposed in the 31 years prior to the moratorium.More Essay Examples on Argumentative Rubric.
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