New Zealand has joined other countries in calling for an end to Japanese whaling in the Southern Ocean.

In a written statement released today, the New Zealand Government and other countries reiterate their opposition to Japan's "scientific" whaling.

Other co-signatories include Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, the European Union and its member states, Mexico, Panama, Peru, and Uruguay.

"This statement highlights the strong international disapproval of Japan's continued whaling in the Southern Ocean contrary to IWC requests," Foreign Minister Winston Peters said.

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"New Zealand will continue to work closely with other IWC members seeking to have Japan rethink what it is doing."

Japanese whaling vessels returned this summer to the Southern Ocean. That is despite an International Court of Justice ruling in 2014 that Japan's previous whaling programme was unlawful because it was not for genuine scientific research. That case was brought by Australia.

The statement released today reads: "We remain firmly committed to the global moratorium on commercial whaling which has been in place for over 30 years.

"The aforementioned signatories are committed to improving the conservation status of whales worldwide, maintaining the commission's global moratorium on commercial whaling, and implementing meaningful reform of the commission."