Why Japan stopped some of its controversial whale hunts
The global wildlife trade treaty is being put to the test in Japan and other countries.
It was October of 2018, and if Japan didn’t stop slaughtering sei whales plying the waters of the North Pacific and come into compliance with the international treaty that regulates the global wildlife trade, it was going to get punished.
The implicit threat, made at a meeting in Sochi, Russia, by the elected panel that handles wildlife trade enforcement matters for the 183 members of the Convention on the International Treaty for Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), was drastic: Failure to comply, the panel said—couched in the formal language of treaty communications—could shut Japan out of the lucrative, legal wildlife trade. (Learn more: CITES, explained.)
If that happened, the other 182 parties to the treaty would no longer