MOSCOW, March 31 (RAPSI) – The International Court of Justice ordered Japan to cease its whaling activities in Antarctica, Reuters reports.

The application was filed by Australia in 2010. Australian authorities claimed that Japan had been acting in violation of International whaling convention, which prohibits commercial whale hunting. Japanese authorities claimed that the whaling was conducted for research purposes.

Australia claimed that under the cover of research, Japan annually exterminated more than 900 minke whales (Balaenoptera acutorostrata), which are considered to be an endangered species, and more than 10,000 whales had been killed by Japanese hunters since 1986. The meat of animals killed for alleged research is openly sold in Japanese restaurants and grocery stores.

Presiding Judge Peter Tomka (Slovakia) stated that since JARPA II research program was initiated in 2005, more than 3,600 Minke whales have been exterminated, and the court thus considers its scientific potential limited. According to the court order, the Japanese government must recall whaling licenses issued for Antarctica.