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Allies lambast Japan for return to commercial whaling

28 December 2018

Japan permitted whale meat from these expeditions to be sold in markets and restaurants, and critics-including the U.N's International Court of Justice-have decried the scientific program as a thinly veiled cover for commercial hunts.

Japan announced its withdrawal today from the International Whaling Commission (IWC), with plans to resume commercial whaling next year.

Suga said Japan would officially inform the IWC of its decision by the end of the year, which will mean the withdrawal comes into effect by June 30.

The whaling will be conducted in accordance with global law and within the catch limits calculated by the method adopted by the whaling commission to avoid negative impact on whaling stocks, Suga said in his statement. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's electoral constituency in western Japan includes the former whaling hub of Shimonoseki, and whale meat was a common dish in the nation's schools.

Sea Shepherd's the Bob Barker, left, and the fuel tanker Sun Laurel, right, of Japanese whaling vessel Nisshin Maru, collide in waters near Antarctica.

Paul Watson, the organization's founder, said, "We look forward to continuing to oppose the three remaining pirate whaling nations of Norway, Japan and Iceland".

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"Whales face a greater number of threats today that at any stage in their past", AMCS CEO Darren Kindleysides said.

But conservationists worry that Japan's actions threaten whale populations within Japan's territorial waters.

Suga said the views of countries wanting to continue whaling in a sustainable manner "were not taken into account at all" during deliberations in Florianopolis, Brazil, in September.

The IWC was established in 1946 to govern the conduct of whaling worldwide, ensuring proper conservation of whale stocks, and now has 88 member nations including the US, UK and Australia.

A group of activists animal advocates criticized this decision, Greenpeace called the announcement "insidious".

"Engagement in whaling has been supporting local communities, and thereby developed the life and culture of using whales", Suga said. However, as the Journal noted, a loophole in IWC's agreement allowed Japan to slaughter hundreds of whales annually under the guise of it serving scientific research.

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"As a result of modern fleet technology, overfishing in both Japanese coastal waters and high seas areas has led to the depletion of many whale species", Annesley's said.

However, Japan will not be able to continue the so-called scientific research hunts in the Antarctic that it has been exceptionally allowed as an IWC member under the Antarctic Treaty.

Commercial whaling has been banned by IWC since 1986, but Japan has long lobbied for the restrictions to be eased.

Saito said many residents in the district are looking forward to the hoped-for benefits linked to the industry's restart, saying it may increase employment, revive the industry and allow them to eat more whale meat. "Regrettably, we have reached a decision that it is impossible in the IWC to seek the coexistence of states with different views". "IWC has become a dysfunctional organisation".

As part of the IWC, Japan has long requested the resumption of commercial whaling, arguing that the recovery of the whale population has been confirmed. Japan's departure will deal a stiff financial blow to the IWC as that nation is the second largest contributor to the worldwide whaling regulator, after the United States.

"I doubt if a withdrawal improves the current situation", he told NHK.

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Japan has cut back on its catch as Japanese consume less whale meat.

Allies lambast Japan for return to commercial whaling