To my surprise, the Japanese government has backed down and suspended plans to hunt up to 50 humpback whales after extreme protests by the Australian people and government. Chief Japanese government spokesman Nobutaka Machimura said humpbacks would not be part of the annual hunt in the waters around Antarctica.
It’s true that Australia expressed quite a strong opinion to Japan on this. As a result, I hope that this will lead to better relations with Australia.
— Nobutaka Machimura
Chief Cabinet Secretary
It may have taken more than just the mentioned protests to convince the Japanese of the error of the ways though. Australia has been ‘dogging’ Japan – including flying survelliance aircraft – for its plans to resume whale hunting in the Antarctic region. The Australian Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd had recently announced plans to dispatch an armed observation ship to track the Japanese whaling fleet and gather evidence for a possible lawsuit at the International Court of Justice in The Hague.
Never underestimate the power of armed diplomacy!