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m3n4.net March 23, 2019


Japan to Restart Commercial Whale-Hunting from July 2019

27 December 2018, 12:53 | Brenda Erickson

Japan leaving International Whaling Commission

Japan announces IWC withdrawal to resume commercial whaling

Japan has revealed it is leaving the International Whaling Commission (IWC) and will start hunting whales for business use, but said it will no longer go to the Antarctic.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said the hunts will be limited to Japan's territorial waters and its 200-mile exclusive economic zone along the country's coasts, and that Japan will stop its annual whaling expeditions to the Antarctic and northwest Pacific oceans.

Japan has announced it will no longer be hunting whales in the Southern Ocean, instead, it will resume commercial whaling within its own waters.

Japan switched to what it calls research whaling after the IWC imposed a moratorium on commercial whaling in the 1980s, and now says stocks have recovered enough to resume commercial hunts.

The decision by Tokyo to withdraw from the International Whaling Commission (IWC), which regulates whaling and has banned it, after 57 years as a member was criticised by allies and conservation groups.

Packs of whale meat are displayed in 2014 at a specialty store at Tokyo’s Ameyoko shopping district. Japan says it is leaving the International Whaling Commission to resume commercial hunts but says it will no longer go to the Antarctic to hunt. Chief

The IWC, established in 1946 to conserve and manage the world's whale and cetacean population, introduced a moratorium on commercial whaling in 1986.

In 2014, the International Court of Justice ruled that Japan should halt Antarctic whaling.

The Japanese government has confirmed it will restart commercial whaling in July when it exits the IWC.

To leave the IWC in 2019, Japan needs to notify the commission by January 1.

"It's clear that the government is trying to sneak in this announcement at the end of year, away from the spotlight of worldwide media", said Sam Annesley, the Executive Director at Greenpeace Japan.

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Japan has hunted whales for centuries, and the meat was a key source of protein in the immediate post-World War II years when the country was desperately poor.

"As there may be global criticism, I expect (the government) to try to gain the understanding of anti-whaling nations", he said, adding he hopes whaling for commercial use will be carried out under appropriate resource management in a similar manner to when the country's so-called research whaling was conducted.

"Australia remains resolutely opposed to all forms of commercial and so-called "scientific" whaling", Foreign Minister Marise Payne and Environment Minister Melissa Price said in a statement.

"This is the path of a pirate whaling nation, with a troubling disregard for worldwide rule", she added. This includes 372 minke whales, 26 Bryde's whales, and 90 sei whales.

The move on Wednesday, which is expected to draw worldwide criticism, came more than three months after the global body for the conservation of whales rejected a Tokyo-led proposal to lift a 32-year ban on the commercial hunting of the mammals.

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Commercial whaling was banned by the IWC in 1986 after some species were driven nearly to extinction.

Fisheries officials have said Japan annually consumes thousands of tons of whale meat from the research hunts, mainly by older Japanese seeking a nostalgic meal.

But doubts exist about whether Japanese commercial whaling can be economically viable, especially as fewer people than ever are eating whale meat, they said.

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