Australia warns Japan over whales. Anti-whaling groups say Japan already kills too many whales Australia is stepping up a diplomatic campaign to persuade Japan to drop plans to increase commercial whaling. Under an international agreement, there is a moratorium on the hunting of whales, but some can be killed for scientific research.
Opponents of whale hunting say Japan is exploiting this loophole, killing hundreds and selling the meat. Japan is reported to have said it wants to kill nearly twice the number of whales it hunted last year. Australian Prime Minister John Howard says he has written to his Japanese counterpart, Junichiro Koizumi, to say that new research methods make killing whales unnecessary.
"Our position on research whaling will not change just because of foreign pressure" said
Takanori Nagatomo - Japanese Fisheries Agency. Mr Howard told Mr Koizumi to expect considerable public concern around the world if whale killing was increased. "There is clear evidence of the extent of public interest in the continued health and welfare of whales and considerable public concern could be expected, not only in Australia, but across the globe, were whaling to increase," he wrote.
But Japan's Fisheries Agency said the country would continue its whaling which it says is done for scientific research