Japan on Thursday defended its whaling expedition in the Antarctic Ocean, saying that it is for scientific research and is in accordance with an international convention.
Japanese whaling is legal scientific research based on Article 8 of the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a news conference in Tokyo.
He said Japan was confident in its assertion and would stand firm in its position at the International Court of Justice in The Hague where Australia had filed a suit seeking a halt to Japan's whaling in the Antarctic waters, Japanese media reported.
The first day of hearing on Wednesday, Australia's legal representatives said that Japan should immediately stop whaling in the Antarctic Ocean.
The Australian government, which filed the case three years ago, argued that Japan's research whaling program is commercial whaling in disguise and is against the Convention.
The hearing will continue through July 16 and a panel of 16 judges are expected to rule on the issue later this year.
Anti-whaling group 'Sea Shepherd' had intercepted Japanese vessels several times to dissuade the country from the expedition.
by RTT Staff Writer
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