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A prowhaling lobby group held a special gathering in Tokyo on Thursday and called for the resumption of commercial whaling.

The entreaty came alongside the ongoing meeting of the International Whaling Commission in Shimonoseki, Yamaguchi Prefecture.

Some 500 group members adopted a resolution demanding that the IWC lift an international moratorium on commercial whaling.

The group consists of 32 bodies from the public and private sectors, including the Fisheries Agency, while lawmakers from both the ruling and opposition blocs also attended the gathering.

“Some antiwhaling countries say eating whale is barbaric, but I consider such a stance to be cultural imperialism,”‘ opined Shunichi Suzuki of the Liberal Democratic Party.

Yoshiko Nakabayashi of the Japanese Communist Party said, “Excessive exploitation must be prevented, but whaling should be resumed under strict monitoring systems to maintain Japan’s traditional gastronomic culture.”

After the gathering, the participants conducted a parade near the Diet building. A big whale float headed the parade, which also featured banners emblazoned with the following phrases: “Whales are precious food” and “We eat whales and protect them.”

Japan is one of the few developed countries that has yet to abandon whaling altogether.

It conducts research whaling activities, ostensibly to gather biological data on whales, claiming the program is valid under the IWC’s founding convention. The meat from the expeditions is put on the market.

Other major maritime nations, such as the United States, Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, ceased their commercial whaling activities in the 1960s and 1970s.

The IWC meeting in Shimonoseki started April 25 and will run until May 24.

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