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Australia: Japan's whaling defence 'offensive'

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AUSTRALIA'S top law officer says Japan has resorted to “untrue and offensive” statements while attempting to justify its Southern Ocean whaling hunt before the UN's top court, reported The Australian.

Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus accused Tokyo of spouting baseless allegations which weren't relevant to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) dispute.

Mr Dreyfus was particularly upset by lawyer Payam Akhavan's claim last week that Canberra was engaged in “an emotional anti-whaling moral crusade that in the name of zero-tolerance tolerates Sea Shepherd's violent extremism, the politicisation of science (and) the collapse of the IWC (International Whaling Commission)”.

“As well as being a statement completely devoid of legal argument this is untrue and offensive to Australia,” the Attorney-General said in The Hague.

“That this was the character of the Japanese response to Australia's legal argument speaks volumes for the weakness of the Japanese case.”

Canberra wants the 16-judge panel to ban Tokyo's annual hunt on the basis it's not “for purposes of scientific research” as allowed under Article 8 of the 1946 whaling convention.

Australia argues the program is actually a commercial operation.

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