There has been a ban on commercial whaling for nearly 30 years, yet more than 10,000 whales have been killed by Japanese hunters in that time. It is encouraging that many countries recognise the importance of protecting an endangered species now, and Australia, supported by New Zealand, is to be applauded for taking Japan to the International Court of Justice in The Hague for breaching the international ban; it has taken three years for the case to reach the Court, but public hearings are about to get under way and it may even be that a favourable and binding decision will be issued in time to stop the next cycle of whaling in the Southern Ocean at the end of the year.
The Japanese cannot be blamed for all the abuse suffered by whales and dolphins and the other inhabitants of our seas: every developed country which has a navy or commercial boats and ships is responsible for heavy pollution of the waters through oils and chemicals and careless discharges, and for terrible, destructive noises from engines and military sonar sound. Fingers point at Japan, but many of those who point and judge forget what else is going on, every day and all the time not just once a year. The whales suffer but they forgive – so much wiser than you and me.