Australia expects International Court of Justice ban on Japanese Antarctic whaling this year

Australia expects the International Court of Justice will outlaw Japanese whaling in the Antarctic before the next whale hunting begins in January.

Australia's case against Japan will begin hearing in the United Nations court in The Hague on Wednesday.

Australian Attorney General Mark Dreyfus said on Sunday he expects to win before the next southern hemisphere summer. The whaling fleet generally leaves Japan each December to begin harpooning whiles in January in the Antarctic Ocean where Australia has declared a whale sanctuary in 1999.

Commercial whaling has been banned around the world since 1986 under an International Whaling Commission moratorium. But various exceptions are allowed, including whaling for scientific research which Japan says is the motivation for its annual hunt.