Sea Shepherd / Glenn Lockitch
The Netherlands wishes to raise the issue of illegal whaling during the discussions on a trade agreement between Europe and Japan. This is what Minister Koenders (Foreign Affairs) promised on Thursday in his response to questions from the Party of the Animals. The European Committee, who negotiates on behalf of the EU with Japan on the agreement, refused until now to demand a stop to the whaling during its negotiations.
Minister Koenders made his promise on the 9th of February 2017 in response to questions by MP Esther Ouwehand and MEP Anja Hazekamp, during the annual debate on the state of the European Union.
Since 1986, an international ban on commercial whaling is in force, to protect the animals from extinction. However, Japan does not respect this ban and continues to hunt whales, allegedly for scientific research. The European Commission previously indicated that it did not want to plead for a separate chapter on whaling in the free trade agreement. The Party for the Animals is therefore happy with Minister Koenders’ promise.
“The Netherlands declines whaling, which is a good start. Next, we will have to exercise pressure in any place possible. Great that minister Koenders will do so now,” according to Ouwehand.
MEP Anja Hazekamp said that it is key to make clear to Japan that illegal whale hunting will have consequences for its trade relations with Europe. On the initiative of the Party for the Animals, a majority of the European Parliament objected last year to the whaling in Japan.
“Japan should leave the whales be and respect the international ban on whaling. We will again – with the Dutch promise in hand – demand that the European Committee will make the ban on whaling an absolute condition during the next round of negotiations about the free trade agreement with Japan,” according to Hazekamp.