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Australia To Japan: End Whaling By June Or We'll See You In Court

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While the Sea Shepherd are attempting to find the Japanese whaling fleet (and, in terms of the Ady Gil, actually get out of port), the Australian government is ramping up threats to take Japan to court over their so-called “scientific research”. Granted, we’ve heard this grumbling before. Since 2007, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has repeatedly vowed to take action to end the hunt — but with very little to show.

“What we’ve done with the previous government of Japan and this current government is seek to resolve this matter diplomatically — diplomatically and finding a way through,” he told The Australian while preparing for a meeting with Japan’s PM Yukio Hatoyama in Tokyo. “But I have said very clearly, if we don’t find a way through there is one way to sort this out and that is through the appropriate international legal mechanisms.”

Though Rudd refused to comment on a timeline for his patience running out, Environment Minister Peter Garrett was a bit more forthcoming. On a radio program yesterday he said that if Japan made no undertaking by June to end the kill “legal option will be undertaken”.

“Our commitment is for the killing of whales in the Southern Ocean to cease,” he said. “We are opposed to it. We’ve remained opposed to it ever since we’ve come to government and that is our policy goal.”

We’ll see if Rudd and Co. remain true to that pledge. As Opposition Leader Tony Abbott said in response to the latest threats. “I don’t think you should make threats that you don’t carry out. It just brings Australia into disrepute. It embarrasses us before a country which is otherwise a very, very important country and a very good friend to Australia.”

What do you think? Will Australia take that next step in June — or will this be more of the same empty promises we’ve heard before?

Photo: A slaughtered minke whale and its calf being hauled up the ramp of the Japanese ship, the Yushin Maru.

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