MELBOURNE, Oct. 20 (Xinhua) -- Australia's government has announced it will seek legal advice following Japan's decision to disregard an international court ruling which barred it from whaling in the Southern Ocean.
Japan was banned in June by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) from whaling in the Southern Ocean, a large portion of which sits off the coast of Australia. The ICJ found Japan's whaling illegal, rejecting the notion it was conducted for scientific purposes.
Australia only learned of Japan's play at the UN on Sunday after it had been made public.
Australia's Environment Minister Greg Hunt said on Tuesday he had spoken to Japanese officials following their attempt to be excluded from the ICJ judgment at the UN.
"Australia has successfully brought action in the International Court of Justice to stop Japan's whaling program. Japan has previously said it would abide by the ruling," Hunt said in comments published by News Corp on Tuesday.
"We are taking legal advice on the implications of Japan's actions."
The Japanese plan to begin another whaling operation, known as NEWREP-A, in the coming weeks.
Japan intends to slaughter nearly 4,000 minke whales over the next 12 years - starting with 330 this summer - under its newest plan.
Hunt said Australia would stand up to Japan on the issue.
"We hope that Japan does not undertake so-called 'scientific' whaling this summer in the Southern Ocean," he said on Tuesday.
"Australia remains opposed to all forms of commercial whaling and we assert that research can be conducted using non-lethal methods."
"Australia will continue to pursue the issue through the International Whaling Commission and in direct discussions with Japan," he said.