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PM Turnbull: Australia ‘disappointed’ by Japan whaling restart

“When Mr. Turnbull visits Japan, he must remind Mr. Abe that Japan should accept the jurisdiction of the ICJ, as it promised, and abandon the whale hunt”.

Despite tensions over whaling, the two countries have a flourishing relationship in trade and tourism and have moved to strengthen defence and security ties.

In addition, Mr Turnbull said he expressed Australia’s “deep disappointment” with Japan’s resumption of whaling.

He faces a balancing act between Australia’s largest trading partner and rising power, China, and its oldest regional ally and second-largest trading partner, Japan, with which it has been bolstering strategic relations.

It is also conducting large-scale land reclamation in the South China Sea, waters that are also contested by a number of Southeast Asian nations and contain some of the world’s most important shipping lanes.

The Australian leader is now on an official visit to Tokyo, where he is scheduled to hold a meeting with Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, to discuss a number of bilateral issues.

Japan has also agreed to recognise Australian university degree qualifications from 2016 and deals were signed on Friday to deepen university ties in the area of energy, health and medical research.

The members of the now-defunct council include some of Australia’s biggest corporate names including Grocon chief Daniel Grollo, retailer Solomon Lew, Linfox executive chair Peter Fox, Telstra chair Catherine Livingstone, BlueScope Steel chairman Graham Kraehe, BHP Billiton chairman Jacques Nasser, National Australia Bank chairman Michael Chaney, and former Productivity Commission chief Gary Banks.

The Japanese government said last month it planned to kill 333 minke whales for scientific research this season.

Opposition foreign affairs spokeswoman Tanya Plibersek challenged Mr Turnbull to tell the Japanese, unequivocally, that Australia opposed the resumption of whaling and was considering whether further legal action is required to enforce the worldwide ban on commercial whaling in the Southern Ocean.

Japan stopped whaling previous year after an worldwide court ruled against its program.

“We all have a vested interest in disputes being resolved peacefully, in accordance with worldwide law”, Turnbull said.

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