Earlier this week, France amended its original proposal for a permanent whale sanctuary in Southern Hemisphere waters below the 40th parallel, suggesting a 50-year period instead. The revised sanctuary proposal shocked whale-hunting nations such as Japan and Norway, which saw it as having a much better chance of being adopted.
Japan, facing growing pressure to give up whaling completely, attacked conservationist nations yesterday and threatened to leave the International Whaling Commission (IWC), Reuter reports from Kyoto. Kazuo Shima, representing Japan at the IWC's annual conference, said that if a proposal by France were adopted 'we would have to consider our basic stance to deal with the IWC. Of course, that would include our withdrawal.'