Japanese whaling ships return home from Antarctic with no catch


Japanese whaling ships have returned home from the Antarctic for the first time in nearly 30 years with no catch onboard, after a U.N. court ordered an end to their annual hunt.

The two ships, the 724-ton Yushin Maru and the 747-ton Yushin Maru No. 2, arrived Saturday at the port of Shimonoseki, a major whaling base in Yamaguchi Prefecture.

It was the first return by the fleet without catching any whales since 1987, when Japan began its annual “research” hunt in the Antarctic, the Asahi Shimbun reported.

The two ships did not face any attacks by anti-whaling activists on their voyage, the report added.

Tokyo had said this season’s excursion would not involve any lethal hunting. Harpoons normally used in the capture of whales were removed from the vessels.

Crew members on the two boats carried out “sighting surveys” and took skin samples from the huge marine mammals, news reports said.

The nonlethal research was introduced after the International Court of Justice, the highest court of the United Nations, ruled in March last year that Tokyo was abusing a scientific exemption set out in a 1986 moratorium on whaling. The court concluded Tokyo was carrying out a commercial hunt under a veneer of science.

After the ruling, Japan said it would not hunt in the Antarctic during this winter, but has since expressed its intention to resume research whaling in 2015 to 2016.

  • GBR48

    So the people of Japan pay for it through their taxes, the national image is dragged through the dirt globally, and yet the government still go ahead with it.

    And the zillions of taxpayers’ Yen that is paid out selling the international image of Japan as ‘cool’ is flushed down the toilet.

    There is nothing quite so embarrassing as a stubbornly dumb group of politicians, refusing to move with the times.

    I’m guessing the 2020 anti-whaling demos will get a lot of extra coverage, and won’t be taking place on the high seas.

  • EdChombeau

    yum yum–tastes like chicken

    • David A .Hereaux

      Dumb dumb–sounds like a child molester

    • ichthyic

      I’ve eaten BBQ sperm whale. no kidding. it actually tastes like a very rich beef. Edible, and probably tasty if you’re used to it, but I personally didn’t care for it.

      the myoglobin content is so high, that the meat cooks up purple.

      it looks like meat beets.

      can’t say if the fin whales they catch down in Antarctica would have exactly the same taste… but I can assure you it doesn’t taste like chicken.

      I can also assure you there is no other point to this “hunt” other than a displaced sense of tradition and pride.



  • David A .Hereaux

    Let’s hope they wake up to reality and stop killing creatures all together.

    The human virus is worse than AIDS.

  • Wilson Raiano

    I do not believe them. They must have caugth a few and sent them to japan by UPS,.

  • Liars N. Fools

    Japanese whaling is as anachronistic as nostalgia for “all the wonderful things Japan did for Asia under Japanese imperialism” — both ideas are sponsored by the same Japanese hierarchy.

    Please, Abe-San, consider a world in which the restoration of the whale population is part of the restoration of the oceans — Japan is after all an island country.

  • Daniel Oliver Jost

    Isn’t it interesting that the fleet is based in Yamaguchi Prefecture, and Japan’s largest yakuza group is the Yamaguchi-gumi?…

  • Daniel Oliver Jost

    Yoshimasa “Minamata” Hayashi by the way most probably suffered from mercury poisoning as a child, as his facial traits strongly suggest.

  • Thomas Raven

    I believe this year’s “research” trip was an attempt to save face since the whole world knows no research has ever taken place under this program. A huge thanks to Paul Watson and Sea Shepherd for exposing this criminal activity. Sea World and the shark fin mafia are next!

  • Hanten

    This is great news.
    However, I am saddened that they plan to return to Antarctic oceans next year to kill whales again. It’s especially baffling when you know that the government has been heavily subsidizing this industry for decades and that most of the whale meat harvested from previous hunts sits in deep freezers unsold.
    I know it’s hard to change careers but the whale hunters must have considered doing so before now. Re-training for a new career may be the best thing that ever happened to them and the whales. I’ve heard there’s a lot of money in whale watching tours these days.