HAMBURG, 9 August. Japan, today, filed a response to the requests for provisional measures filed by Australia and New Zealand on 30 July 1999. In its response Japan submits that the Tribunal should deny the provisional measures requested by Australia and New Zealand. The response also contains a counter-request by Japan for provisional measures.
Japan challenges the jurisdiction of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea to prescribe the provisional remedies requested by Australia and New Zealand. Provisional measures can only be ordered if the arbitral tribunal under Annex VII to the Convention on the Law of the Sea (see below) to which the main case would be submitted would itself have jurisdiction. Japan argues that such an arbitral tribunal would not have jurisdiction and consequently the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea would lack jurisdiction to order provisional measures pending the setting-up of the arbitral tribunal. Japan contends that the dispute with Australia and New Zealand arises from the 1993 Convention for the Conservation of Southern Bluefin Tuna concluded between the three States and accordingly the dispute should be settled by reference to the procedure provided for in that Convention.