Australia and Japan in Whaling row

The Financial Times reports that the Australian Prime Minister has vowed to try to put an end to commercial whaling, which puts him at odds with a Pacific ally, Japan. You can find the whole story here, but here’s an important snippet:

Kevin Rudd, Australia’s new Labor prime minister, on Thursday said his government would pursue all means to end commercial whaling by Japan and other countries, dismissing claims that Japanese hunting is for scientific purposes.

Mr Rudd’s comments, which mark a significant shift in Australian foreign policy, came amid a tense stand-off that has soured relations between Japan and Australia.

The previous conservative government of John Howard, defeated by Labor in last November’s election, had avoided antagonising Japan, one of Australia’s closest allies and most important trading partners, over the issue.

We’ll look at this issue later in the semester when we analyze the state or domestic level. There is an important theory in IR that argues that there is a single, unitary national interest that is fairly consistent over time, regardless of which party or leader is in charge. What is this theory and what are the implications for that theory of the whaling row between the Japanese and Australians?

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