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Australia's government on Friday announced plans for legal action against Japan to stop Southern Ocean scientific whaling, but said it did not expect retaliation from its second-biggest trading partner.
"The Australian government has not taken this decision lightly," Foreign Minister Stephen Smith said after announcing legal papers would be lodged in the International Court of Justice in The Hague next week.
"We have been patient and committed in our efforts to find a diplomatic resolution to this issue. We have engaged in intensive discussions in the International Whaling Commission (IWC) and bilaterally with Japan," Smith said.