- The Washington Times - Monday, March 31, 2014

Japan can no longer continue its annual whale hunt in the name of scientific research, the United Nations said Monday.

The International Court of Justice, the U.N.’s main judicial branch, ordered a temporary halt to the country’s Antarctic whaling program, at least until it has been thoroughly revamped.

Japan shall revoke any extant authorization, permit or license granted in relation to JARPA II, and refrain from granting any further permits in pursuance of that program,” the court said, CNN reported.

Presiding Judge Peter Tomka said in the 12-4 decision that Japan’s “killing, taking, and treating of whales” is not for purposes of scientific research, as the country has claimed.

Japanese Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesman Noriyuki Shikata told reporters that the country “regrets and is deeply disappointed” by the decision.

But “as a state that respects the rule of law … and as a responsible member of the global community, Japan will abide by the ruling of the court,” he said.

The Australian government had challenged the Japanese whaling program in the International Court of Justice.

Former Australian environment minister Peter Garrett said he felt vindicated by the ruling.

“I’m absolutely over the moon, for all those people who wanted to see the charade of scientific whaling cease once and for all,” he told Australian Broadcasting Corp. radio. “I think [this] means without any shadow of a doubt that we won’t see the taking of whales in the Southern Ocean in the name of science.”

• This article is based in part on wire service reports.