Graphic Japanese whaling footage that Australia tried to hide

WARNING DISTRESSING VIDEO: Footage shows minke whales being killed in wildlife conservation area

Updated: 

Horrific footage showing the grim realities of Japanese whaling in Australian waters has been shown for the first time after a five-year legal battle by animal rights protestors.

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Conservation charity Sea Shepherd won the case against the Australian government who refused to hand over the footage despite a Freedom of Information request in 2012.

Filmed in 2008 by customs officials the graphic footage shows a Japanese research ship chasing down and killing minke whale in areas designated for wildlife conservation.

The animal is harpooned, dragged alongside the boat before being hoisted up.

According to the Asian Correspondent website the boats race after the mammals at a speed of 24knots, faster than the 17knots the whales are able to swim at.

Credits: Humane Society International (HSI)

Humane Society International (HSI)

Credits: Humane Society International (HSI)

Humane Society International (HSI)

Credits: Humane Society International (HSI)

Humane Society International (HSI)

Credits: Sea Shepherd/Youtube

Sea Shepherd/Youtube

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The Australian Government was concerned that its release would harm diplomatic relations with Japan, ABC Australia reports.

Sea Shepherd Australia managing director Jeff Hansen said: "When these whales are hit with an explosive harpoon, it sends shrapnel through their bodies and then hooks come out.

"There's no way for these whales to escape.

"They're thrashing around trying to get away from these harpoon ships, but the cable drags them back up to the surface."

Once aboard the Nisshin Maru ship, the whales are "diced up" for the Japanese market, Mr Hansen added.

Despite the newly-revealed footage being taken in 2008, Mr Hansen claims Japanese ships are still venturing down into Australian sanctuary waters, with the Australian goverNment reportedly "deeply disappointed" when the Japanese were found in the same area.

Credits: Sea Shepherd/Youtube

Sea Shepherd/Youtube

Credits: Humane Society International (HSI)

Humane Society International (HSI)

Credits: Sea Shepherd/Youtube

Sea Shepherd/Youtube

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In January this year, the Australian government was reportedly " deeply disappointed " when the Japanese were found slaughtering protected whales in the same protected area.

This was followed by calls from the Australian Marine Conservation Society for the Australian government to take "every legal and diplomatic avenue available" to prevent continued whaling.

Mr Hansen added: "Unless there is action from the Australian government, in ten years' time we are still going to see whales being killed in an established whale sanctuary.

"It's time the Australian government stepped up and sent a vessel south."

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