- After the international court of justice (ICJ) directed Japan to close all its annual whale hunts in the southern ocean, Japanese online retailer Rakuten is set to close its online sales of whale and dolphin by the end of April this year and has directed its meat sellers to pull down all ads selling mammals’ meat, skin, bone and other products.
- Rakuten, which had earlier acquired Play.com, Buy.com, ebook reader Kobo and also has large shares in Pinterest, is the world’s largest online retailer of whale products, many of which originated from species protected in the 1986 moratorium (not to kill for commercial purposes) along with elephant ivory.
- The ruling also prompted Japan to call off its next winter’s Antarctic Hunt in which harpoons target over 1,000 minkey whales. The ruling, however, has no clause on the sale of whale meats in Japan, where its legal, or even the slaughter of whales in the north-west Pacific, and in its own coastal waters.
- Japan commenced its “scientific” whaling programme after the International Whaling Commission banned commercial whaling in 1986. But have failed to show its scientific value.
- Environmental investigation agency (EIA) welcomed the move and hoped that ivory would soon be added to the list of items banned. In its Blood E-Commerce report it had revealed that the cetacean products advertised by Rakuten contained levels of mercury up to 20 times higher than permissible limits.
- International Court of Justice (ICJ)
- International Whaling Commission
- 1986 moratorium
- Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA)