WELLINGTON, April 1 (Xinhua) -- New Zealand Prime Minister John Key said Tuesday that an International Court of Justice decision " a decisive win", which rules that Japan's whaling program does not serve scientific research purposes and must cease.
Key hoped the ruling, delivered in The Hague on Monday will mean the end of Japanese whaling in the Southern Ocean, New Zealand TV3 reported.
He said Japan has two options if it wants to continue whaling: to reapply under scientific research provisions, which would substantially reduce the number of whales that could be killed, or withdraw from the International Whaling Commission.
The International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled Japan should cease its whaling program "with immediate effect".
The ICJ, by 12 votes to four, said Japan hadn't acted in compliance with its obligations under the international whaling convention. The case was taken by Australia and supported by New Zealand. Japan says it will abide by the ruling, but will not say when it will stop hunting whales.
New Zealand Foreign Minister Murray McCully said other countries may look to use the ruling on Japan's Antarctic whaling program as a precedent for similar action in the north Pacific.
The ruling concerns only whaling in the Southern Ocean. However, Murray McCully said the same arguments could be mounted against Japan's program in the north Pacific, where fishermen carry out small-scale coastal whaling.
McCully said New Zealand representatives would meet with their Japanese counterparts in coming weeks to discuss the rulings and Japan's intentions.