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March 31, 2014 AT 1:05 PM
The future of whaling in Japan was thrown into doubt after the International Court of Justice ruled Monday that the nation's annual hunt in the Antarctic was not really for scientific purposes — as Tokyo had claimed — and ordered it halted. The ruling was a major victory for whaling opponents, as it ends for now one of the world's biggest whale hunts, for minkes in the icy Southern Ocean. The judgment was praised by Australia, which brought the case against Japan in 2010, and by environmentalists, who have been seeking an end to whaling since the 1970s on ethical grounds.