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01 December 2023

Australia whaling threat 'unfortunate'

A mother whale and her calf being dragged on board a Japanese ship after being harpooned in Antarctic waters. (AFP)

By Reuters

Japan's foreign minister yesterday described Australia's threat of legal action against its controversial whaling activities as "unfortunate" but said he did not believe it would hurt ties.

"It's very unfortunate the Australian side has indicated it will take action in an international court," Katsuya Okada told reporters on the second and final day of a visit to Australia. "Should court action become a reality, then Japan will seek to represent its case to the IWC (International Whaling Commission) supporting the fact that its activities are legal and within the convention."

Okada, the first official from the new Japanese government to visit Australia, said however the dispute should not affect relations between the two major trading partners.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd on Friday bluntly warned Japan that it had until November to reduce its whale catch to zero.


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