You are here

Australia's Antarctic Territory is being flouted by Japan

The Antarctic Treaty

The original Parties to the Treaty were the 12 nations active in the Antarctic during the International Geophysical Year of 1957-58. The Treaty was signed in Washington on 1 December 1959 and entered into force on 23 June 1961.

The Governments of Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Chile, the French Republic, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, the Union of South Africa, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and the United States of America, recognizing that it is in the interest of all mankind that Antarctica shall continue for ever to be used exclusively for peaceful purposes and shall not become the scene or object of international discord.

The now 47 Antarctic Treaty nations represent about two-thirds of the world's human population.
Article I
1. Antarctica shall be used for peaceful purposes only. There shall be prohibited, inter alia, any measure of a military nature, such as the establishment of military bases and fortifications, the carrying out of military manoeuvres, as well as the testing of any type of weapon.
2. The present Treaty shall not prevent the use of military personnel or equipment for scientific research or for any other peaceful purpose.

Japan has deployed military personnel on two security vessels sent to protect its Antarctic whaling fleet from intervention by the Sea Shepherd conservation group's flagship, Steve Irwin , its skipper Captain Paul Watson said.

The Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) is the body responsible for the conservation of marine resources in the Southern Ocean.  It is supposed to regulate the harvesting of, or research into, all living organisms that are found in the marine environment within the Convention that implements CCAMLR.

Protecting Antarctic Wildlife

Guidelines for visiting the Antarctic include ensuring that "wildlife and vegetation are not disturbed". 

  • Taking or harmful interference with Antarctic wildlife is prohibited except in accordance with a permit issued by a national authority.
  • Do not use aircraft, vessels, small boats, or other means of transport in ways that disturb wildlife, either at sea or on land.
  • Do not feed, touch, or handle birds or seals, or approach or photograph them in ways that cause them to alter their behavior. Special care is needed when animals are breeding or molting.
  • Do not use guns or explosives. Keep noise to the minimum to avoid frightening wildlife.

    Visits to breeding wildlife are presently controlled by various codes of conduct which reflect the provisions of the Antarctic Treaty. These provisions outline, in relatively non-specific terms, ways of minimising disturbance to wildlife by suggesting practices such as not touching animals and keeping noise to a minimum during visits.

    DNA sampling provides more data than can be obtained through opening a dead whale’s stomach. A series of whale scats gives a more complex picture of whale feeding habits and their internal parasites. 

    The Federal Court

    The Federal Court in 2008 declared Japanese whaling in Australia’s Antarctic waters as unlawful under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.  Enforcement of the prohibition against whaling in the Australian Whale Sanctuary (AWS) under the EPBC Act rests on the shoulders of the Australian Government.

    Any illegal vessels in the The Australian Whale Sanctuary, adjacent to the Australian Antarctic Territory, should find the perpetrators arrested by Australian customs for breaching Australian law. (Activities in the Australian Whale Sanctuary that may impact on whales, dolphins and porpoises may (?) require a permit - is this our Government's loophole for inaction?)

    Killing whales or other species while in the Antarctic is a violation the Whale Sanctuary and the Antarctic Treaty.  Any illegal activities should be stopped by our Australian Fisheries Officers.  

     However, Japan's illegal whaling vessels have been immune from such actions! 
    Japan's whale slaughter is internationally illegal, unlawful in Australian waters and their presence without permission is potentially dangerous to Australian citizens and the pristine marine environment.

    The whaling factory ship and harpoons have been given de facto legality for so long that Japan's Prime Minister even believes they are quite within their right to be killing whales for whale meat in a whale sanctuary!

    Japan's Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama has asked Kevin Rudd to rein in the Sea Shepherd activists, describing their actions as "sabotage".  Years of diplomacy have clearly been unsuccessful and have fallen on deaf ears if they ask us to assist their illegal fleet!

    Tradition of eating whale meat?

    Mr. Okada, Japan's Foreign Minister, is wrong when he says there is a Japanese tradition of eating whale meat. A few villages did eat whale for centuries but the average Japanese did not. Shore based commercial whaling was set up in Japan in 1911 by the Norwegians and it was the American General Douglas MacArthur who established the modern Antarctic pelagic whaling fleets.

     Japan does not respect our passion for living whales, our anti-whaling policies, our own whale sanctuary, our AAT, so why would we be expected to respect their so-called tradition of killing whales? There is no Japanese tradition of killing whales in the Antarctic.

    Scientific results?

    The Japanese need to show scientific evidence of what they want to find out from each and every whale killed in the Whale Sanctuary, and validate the research results so far!  Non-lethal alternatives could easily be provided, making their slaughter obsolete.  This would finally dispel their hoax of "scientific research" killing, and their breach of the Antarctic Treaty terms. 
    Kevin Rudd should do what he promised to do before being elected - to be "tough" on Japan's illegal whalers and stop them. So far we have seen nothing but cooperation with Japan!  There can be no excuses for inaction if the whalers approach Australian waters.

    Responsibility for wrongs

    The Japanese government also refuse to acknowledge or respect our sovereignty of the Australian Antarctic Territory, or our nearby whale sanctuary.

    How magnanimous that it is assumed that Australians have moved on from needing an apology from the Japanese for the 1943 sinking of the hospital ship
    Centaur. The Japanese people of today should not be shouldering the blame for the events of 66 years ago. However, an apology is about empathy and regret for the decisions made by their leaders in the past, just like Kevin Rudd said "sorry" to the stolen generation. There is no dispute in Japan's actual involvement in the ship's sinking.

    The Japanese government also refuse to acknowledge or respect our sovereignty of the Australian Antarctic Territory, or our nearby whale sanctuary.

    What more violations of International agreements does the Federal government need before they stop their empty threats of legal action and take direct action? 

  • Comments

    THE Rudd Government has reneged on a promise to send an Australian ship to monitor Japan's annual slaughter of 1000 minke, humpback and fin whales. For all his pre-election condemnation of Howard government's shallow anti-whaling policies, Rudd has failed the public miserably on what he was voted for - climate change and illegal whale slaughter!

    Japan has sent a couple of "coast guard" security vessels down with the fleet. Since when is the coast of Japan in the Antarctic? It may impede Sea Shepherd's efforts, but ultimately it is increasing the frustration and costs to Japan. Their aim - to sink the whaling fleet economically! Our Antarctic EEZ is just being surrendered to Japan's economic power.

    Kevin has to consider the bigger picture.

    He has to choose the lesser of evils.

    Poor Kevin.

    Peter Bright

    The lesser of the two "evils" apparently is to do nothing? Australia has already claimed sovereignty over our Australian Antarctic Territory and it is clear on our maps. Kevin Rudd's lesser of two "evils" clearly is to surrender the welfare of "protected" whales, surrender our authority over the AAT, our Australian Whale Sanctuary nearby, and risk the safety of volunteers doing the job our ADF or Oceanic Viking should be doing! Japan is laughing at us, our spineless leaders, policies and laws and "diplomatic" pleas. Imperial Japanese attitudes still reign in peaceful Japan today.

    Kagakuteki Giman means 'scientific deceit' in Japanese and this is the language our Rudd needs to start using against the Japanese government's con on commercial whaling in our territorial waters. What if Australia endorsed North Korea's ongoing missile testing in Japanese territorial waters?
    Rudd has publicly acknowledged the illegitimacy of the Japanese actions. Why doesn't Rudd order the Australian Navy's scientific monitoring of Japanese whaling in our waters?
    Rudd's blind eye to Japanese breaching Australian territorial sovereignty in Australian Antarctic Waters and ignoring Australian Whale Sanctuary, is a mild form of Ruddism (hollow popularism) characterised by problem avoidance and hollow diplomatic speak - like his hollow apologies to the stolen generations and the forgotten generations minus any thought of compensation.
    But Ruddism at its most extreme is treacherous betrayal of Australian values to the benefit of foreign interests - like Rudd's record immigration policy and his approving the selling off of Australia's mineral wealth to China (Rio Tinto, Nufarm, MidWest Corp, Felix Resources, Oz Minerals, etc.).

    Tiger Quoll
    Snowy River 3885

    Do you think Kevin's apparent aquiescence to wrongdoing compares with Obama's doing the same?

    It seems to me that these two men (otherwise thoroughly decent) have allowed themselves to become emasculated puppets in the interest of their own survival. Is this a form of "me first-ism" or do they genuinely feel that they can still achieve some good for their people by staying where they are and making the best of it.

    As I perceive it, these leaders KNOW that unless they aquiesce to wrongdoing they will, one way or another, by fair means or foul, be removed.

    I think it's a tightrope they walk.

    I held out hope that both would bring about worthwhile changes, but those hopes have been unrealised.

    In Kevin Rudd's case, I find it hard to believe that he is "otherwise thoroughly decent". He has gone out of his way to inflict maximum harm on this society, the most glaring example being Australia's current record high rate of immigration.

    In Barack Obama's case, it might be worth reading Russ Baker's new book "Family of Secrets: The Bush Dynasty, the Powerful Forces That Put It in the White House, and What Their Influence Means for America" proposes the same hypothesis for a number of other Presidents including President Obama. (For some more information, see "Week In Review: John Perkins & Russ Baker on Secret Empires" for brief article and see related video of interview on GRIT tv.) Russ Baker's hypothesis is that Obama is doing what the military-industrial complex, of which President Eisenhower warned, expects him to do and not what he would actually prefer to do.

    All the same, I think we are still entitled to judge what Obama does at face value and at face value it is appalling.

    Illegals (and they are illegals, because they are island-hopping queue jumpers who travel through highly compatible non-threatening countries, seeking economic "refuge") are arriving almost every day. The green light has been switched on, by this person Rudd.

    While sick Australian citizens can't get adequate health care, mostly paid for by their own taxation, illegals are first in line. They burn their boats and do things that require swift air-lifting to our hospitals, where they are given priority. How is that for national Rudd-ism? How does this look to our elderly and our wait-listed suffering?

    It could be true that some are importing up to 10 kids into our country. Then what? Family benefits, housing assistance (while we have our own homeless), medicare benefits, BABY BONUS. A queue-jumping family with say 4 kids is known to quickly morph into a family of 6-8 kids within two years of arrival, and with baby bonus encouragement, to boot. How's that for a big Rudd reward?

    This is a shameful indictment on this Ruling Gang - - Rudd, Tanner, Swan & Co. who are acting with impunity (just for now).

    I saw an old P-plated bomb precariously driven around Melbourne - during working hours - sporting four fit-looking males in the front and a similar four in the back. Across the rear window, in thick white paint: "SPONSORED BY KEVIN RUDD".

    What the hell is going on? What's these attitudes? And no-one can tell me that Rudd & Company are unaware of public concerns about population and the stresses of immigration. Blind Freddie can hear publicly expressed concerns, even the dogs are barking it. Yet he continues to advocate a BIG Australia - for whose benefit? The levels of his arrogance and defiance are only rivalled by Malcolm Fraser.

    Are we to lose our sovereign rights, our culture and our belief systems, just to ensure exponentially increasing "gratitude votes" for a pro-population growth government, for their own highly questionable motives?

    Is this new Australian policy? Foreigners who apply blackmail will be rewarded by residency, and taxpayer funded benefits are the ultimate prize?

    It's making me sick. But the way things are going, there'll likely be no room at the health care inn for me, or mine.

    For those of you not familiar with the Mikado, in the speech immediately before the song, Ko-Ko relates the following about finding offenders to behead:

    If I should ever be called upon to act professionally, I am happy to think that there will be no difficulty in finding plenty of people whose loss will be a distinct gain to society at large.

    Lyrics from Gilbert and Sullivan: The Mikado

    "And that Nisi Prius nuisance, who just now is rather rife,
    The Judicial humorist — I've got him on the list!
    All funny fellows, comic men, and clowns of private life —
    They'd none of 'em be missed — they'd none of 'em be missed.
    And apologetic statesmen of a compromising kind,
    Such as — What d'ye call him — Thing'em-bob, and likewise — Never-mind,
    And 'St— 'st— 'st— and What's-his-name, and also You-know-who —
    The task of filling up the blanks I'd rather leave to you.
    But it really doesn't matter whom you put upon the list,
    For they'd none of 'em be missed — they'd none of 'em be missed!"
    "You may put 'em on the list — you may put 'em on the list;
    And they'll none of 'em be missed — they'll none of 'em be missed!"

    Our politicians of today are utterly unremarkable, compromised, colourless and certainly won't be missed! Their loss will be a distinct gain to society at large!

    Rudd is doing what he wants, just like Howard did, just like Keating did, and like those did who came before. Rudd’s superiority complex makes him a control freak, which exacerbates his power. His tight knit foursome – Rudd, Swan, Gillard and Tanner have become "a leak-proof high synod" [Annabel Crabb's article 'A shape-shifter in the Lodge', 14 November 2009], which controls the Federal Cabinet.

    The focus is on the leader with these issues, basically because leader has so much power and influence as to be able to pursue personal ambitions and fetishes. We voted for Rudd in November 2007. With all his promises and committees, he had the usual first six month honeymoon period, before the power went to his head and then voter disenfranchisement kicked in. With Labor in power at Federal and State level and the major opposition party in disarray, Rudd’s arrogant power has gone to his head.

    In Australia, like most democracies, voters only get a chance at pragmatic democracy once every four years, or in the case of local government, once every five years. The rest of the time voters are disenfranchised and rightly frustrated with the disconnect between government and the people.

    Participatory democracy is a misnomer. What we have in reality is Concentrated Occasional Democracy (COD) and it smells like rancid fish. Power is concentrated in one person. Power is also concentrated in a two party system, which precludes minor parties having a say, developing an effective opposition and which also denies new parties starting up to become an effective voice. The opportunity and prevalence of corruption and political influence from party donations perpetuates this concentration of power. We really have a political system that is akin to a neo-aristocracy.

    So in response to Peter Bright‘s reply comment ‘Rudd bending’ yesterday, Rudd is doing what Rudd wants, just like Obama is doing what Obama wants. Aspects of each policy and execution may have merits of right or wrong, but the more important issue is that these leaders are acting undemocratically. No, neither of them is a puppet. They have a personal ideology and they are translating that ideology with public billions. Serious debate is only occurring in the media and given the media is also concentrated; the debate is shallow and dares not explore the root causes.
    Our parliamentary system only allows these leaders to be removed after four years. I would liken their tenure to a superhighway, not a tightrope.

    Tiger Quoll
    Snowy River 3885

    The Japanese have defied French law, too.

    there's this:

    "The Sea Shepherd ship Steve Irwin had been given permission to enter the Territorial waters of France. The Japanese harpoon vessel tailing the Steve Irwin neither requested nor was granted permission to enter the French waters. They did so regardless and in complete contempt of French sovereignty."

    The Sea Shepherd website is here:

    Peter Bright

    I was curious if you ever considered changing the
    page layout of your blog? Its very well written; I love
    what you've got to say. But maybe you could [add (?- Ed)] a little more in the way of content so people could connect with it better.
    You've got an awful lot of text for only having 1 or two pictures.
    Maybe you could space it out better?

    Editorial comment : Whilst this comment is linked to a commercial site, of sorts, the comment is helpful, so thank you, "wow item shop." We agree that candobetter needs better structure and could cover the critical environmental and political issues more comprehensively. We hope to make some noticable progress towards this in the near future.

    Please also feel encouraged to add your own thoughts to the discussion, whether supportive, critical or even opposed. as long as it adds to the discussion and contains nothing illegal, we won't censor. (Apart from spam) we haven't censored anything, yet.