The Australian Government condemns Japan's decision to continue whaling in the Southern Ocean this year under the guise of science.
Australia remains resolute in its opposition to all commercial whaling, including Japan's so-called 'scientific whaling'.
Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd said the Government was particularly disappointed that this whaling will take place in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary established by the International Whaling Commission.
"There is widespread concern in the international community at Japan's whaling program and widespread calls for it to cease," Mr Rudd said.
"The Government has always been firm in our resolve that if we could not find a diplomatic resolution to our differences over this issue, we would pursue legal action. This is the proper way to settle legal differences between friends."
Attorney-General Robert McClelland said the decision to commence proceedings in May 2010 was not taken lightly.
"Australia believes Japan's whaling is contrary to international law and should stop," said Mr McClelland.
"That is why Australia is taking our case in the International Court of Justice to bring to an end Southern Ocean whaling permanently."
Environment Minister Tony Burke said the decision to take legal action demonstrated the strength of Australia's commitment.
"The Australian Government remains opposed to all commercial whaling, including so-called 'scientific whaling," Mr Burke said.
"We will keep working to achieve a permanent end to all commercial whaling."
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