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Joint Media Release
Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Dr David Kemp, MP
Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade
Alexander Downer MP
7 May 2002
In Tokyo today Australia joined 17 other countries in making a demarche to Japan opposing its scientific whaling program.
The demarche sets out our strong concerns about Japan's continuing program of lethal whaling. Australia is disappointed that Japan is now expanding its program of whaling in the North Pacific to include another species, the sei whale.
The World Conservation Union (IUCN) lists the sei whale as endangered because it faces a very high risk of extinction in the near future. Reports suggest Japan plans to target 50 endangered sei whales in the 2002 season and to increase its take of minke whales by 50 to 150.
There is ample evidence that the scientific objectives of Japan's research program could be achieved using non-lethal means.
Eighteen countries including Australia are calling on Japan to comply with International Whaling Commission (IWC) resolutions which urge Japan to end its lethal whaling research program.
Australia will continue to promote increased protection for whales at the forthcoming meeting of the IWC in Shimonoseki later this month.
The countries which joined Australia in voicing opposition to Japan's scientific whaling program were: Argentina, Austria, Brazil, Chile, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Peru, Mexico, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Spain, Sweden, UK and the US.
Catherine Job (Dr Kemp's office) (02) 6277 7640 or 0408 648 400
Chris Kenny (Mr Downer's office) (02) 62613098 or 0419 206 890