Australian prime minister Kevin Rudd has given Japan a whaling ultimatum – stop hunting whales by November or face international court action! “The warning, which comes just a day before a visit by the Japanese Foreign Minister, Katsuya Okada, is one of the strongest statements yet by the Australian premier, who has been accused in the past of backing away from his election campaign pledge to take Japan to the International Court of Justice. Mr Rudd told Australia's Channel 7 television station this morning that Australia would ‘work with the Japanese to reduce, through negotiation, their current catch to zero’. ‘If that fails — and I'm saying this very bluntly and very clearly on your programme today — if that fails then we will initiate that court action before the commencement of the whaling season in November 2010,’ Mr Rudd said. Australia and New Zealand both vehemently oppose Japan's continued hunting and killing of hundreds of whales each year under the guise of scientific research, which allows it to ignore the 14-year-old international moratorium banning whaling. While insisting that it kills whales for scientific purposes only, Japan does not deny that the flesh of the 1,000 animals targeted this year will end up on menus.”