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Statement on Government of Japan
withdrawal from the IWC

The International Whaling Commission has received notification that the Government of Japan will withdraw from the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling in 2019.

This notification was received by the United States as depository for the Convention, and thereafter communicated to all IWC member governments. 

The current Chair of the IWC, Andrej Bibic of Slovenia, said:

“The Government of Japan has played an active and integral role in both the Commission and its Scientific Committee for many years, and their contribution will be missed. 

Like many international organisations, the IWC does not always find it easy to reach agreement, and the different views on commercial whaling are well-documented.  I hope that the environment of respect that has grown at the IWC in recent years will be maintained.  I hope also that we will continue work  on the range of topics where there is both agreement and common interest, such as establishing population estimates of cetaceans and understanding the state of their environment, as well as important issues of concern, such as bycatch which kills over 300,000 cetaceans every year. 

The Commission will of course need to consider the implications of the Government of Japan’s withdrawal and we will do this in due course. In the meantime, we continue with the wide-ranging and challenging work programme that was agreed at our meeting in Brazil last September.”