Home stretch in Australian action against Japanese whaling

THE final arguments in Australia's international legal action against Japanese "scientific whale hunting" will start this week at the International Court of Justice in The Hague.

Action was first taken by the Australian Government against the Japanese practice of whaling in the Southern Ocean in 2010.

Three weeks of hearings start on Wednesday at The Hague, with a team of legal experts from Australia to attend.

Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus said Australia was strongly opposed to all commercial whaling, "including so-called scientific whale hunting by Japan".

"More than 10,000 whales have been killed since 1988 as a result of Japan's whaling programs in the Southern Ocean," he said.

"We believe Japan's so-called scientific whaling is contrary to its international obligations and we want to see this practice brought to a halt once and for all."

He said both Japan and Australia valued their strong bilateral relationship and the "friendship forged between our nations".

The hearings will take place before 16 judges of the court for three weeks, with Mr Dreyfus QC to attend the final week of hearings in July.

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