When it comes to whaling, Japan digs in its heels, as do antiwhaling nations and conservation groups.

Since the International Whaling Commission imposed a moratorium on commercial whaling in 1986, antiwhaling nations, including Australia and Britain, have condemned Japan for conducting commercial whaling disguised as what it calls scientific research.

The annual hunt in the Antarctic Ocean starts soon. Japanese whalers plan to hunt some 1,000 whales. The catch was to include 50 humpbacks, hunted for the first time since 1963, but Japan backed down from this plan Friday amid intense international outrage.