Whale Crisis in Japan

Xander Sharpe, Columnist

Whales are one of the ocean’s largest and most majestic animals. They have many important roles in the ocean’s ecosystem, according to Whale Facts. One of their roles is to help keep the food chain stable so some species of animals, mainly krill, don’t overpopulate this massive body of water. If whales became extinct, the ocean’s food chain would be unbalanced and thus unhealthy. Humans have been the main cause of whale deaths by participating in whaling, fishing, and littering, according to Livescience.

Most whales have been dying for years because of humans being careless and looking upon them like they’re nothing. If there’s one country that definitely doesn’t sympathize towards whales, though, it’s Japan. Japan has recently traveled to Antarctica to take the lives of 333 minke whales, and out of those 333, 120 of them were pregnant. Sadly, it is unknown yet whether this was illegal.

According to the New York Times, Japan has been banned from whaling for commercial purposes in the past in the Antarctic ocean by the International Court of Justice. In 2015, after being banned from whaling in the Antarctic ocean, Japan made another whaling program called Newrep-A created for “scientific purposes.” Most experts say this is just another way Japan is trying to make money off of whaling. When there is a scientific whaling program, it is legal to sell the whale’s meat, further proving Japan could still be doing this all for the money. Australia also has a big role in this whaling conflict.

Australia has an area called the Australian Whale Sanctuary that spreads all the way to a certain stretch of the Antarctic ocean. This area is where whales, dolphins, and porpoises can be protected by Australia. Japan has ignored this sanctuary many times and has been brought to the International Court of Justice many times by doing so. This time though, Australia is worried to go to court with Japan again for fear of possibly losing the area because it is unclear yet if Japan has broken any laws due to the situation being so complicated. Let’s all just hope that whatever happens, the whales will be safe from harm.