It is a question that puzzles much of the world: Why does Japan thumb its nose at one of the environmental movement’s few lasting achievements — the International Whaling Commission’s 1986 ban on commercial whaling?

With Japan’s whaling fleet again in Antarctic waters hunting minke and endangered fin whales — and planning later this year to kill humpbacks, too — DAVID McNEILL talks to politicians, bureaucrats, journalists and environmentalists and finds that far from weakening in the face of worldwide condemnation, Japan’s campaign to overturn the whale-hunting ban is gathering strength.

This coming week, indeed, sees an important attempt by Japan to bypass what it perceives as the IWC’s paralysis, when Tokyo plays host from Feb. 13-15 to a gathering dubbed the Conference for the Normalization of the International Whaling Commission. Despite being boycotted by New Zealand, the United States and around 20 other countries, many fear this conference could seal the fate of the IWC.

To see the big picture of Japan and the whaling ban, read on:
Siege mentality fuels ‘sustainability’ claims
Vitriol vies with science
Resentments sustain a moribund meat trade
The price of stalemate
Deadlock is dominant in whaling’s ‘petty parlor game’
From the inside looking out . . .

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