Japan opens world court defense of whaling
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Japan opens world court defense of whaling

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — Japan is opening its defense of the country’s controversial whaling program in the seas around Antarctica during hearings at the United Nations’ highest court.

Based on their written pleadings, lawyers for Tokyo are expected to argue Tuesday that the International Court of Justice has no jurisdiction to hear the dispute with Australia and New Zealand over the annual hunt and slaughter of hundreds of minke and fin whales in the Southern Ocean.

Japan also will argue that its whaling is for scientific research and therefore permitted under the 1946 convention that regulates whaling.

Lawyers for Australia told the court last week that the whaling is a commercial hunt dressed up as science and should be stopped.

The 16-judge world court will take months to issue a judgment.