THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — Australia is urging the United Nations' highest court to ban Japan's annual whale hunt.
Lawyers for Australia will argue at the International Court of Justice on Wednesday that Japan harpoons minke whales each year in the icy waters around Antarctica in breach of a 1986 moratorium on commercial whaling.
Japan will respond next week by telling judges that the hunt is for scientific research and is allowed under the 1946 International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling.
Opponents say the program is a guise for keeping Japan's dwindling whaling industry alive because the whale meat from the hunt is sold for consumption.
The court will take months to issue a final and binding decision.