LONDON (Kyodo) An International Whaling Commission panel said it will postpone for one year its decision on whether to allow Japan to hunt whales in its coastal waters in return for scaling down or ending its so-called research whaling in the Antarctic Ocean.

Japan’s hope that whaling in its coastal areas could be approved at the IWC’s general meeting in Portugal in June was dashed after it was unable to bridge a gap over the proposed compromise with antiwhaling nations such as Australia.

According to the proposal, the IWC would allow catcher boats from four traditional whaling ports to catch minke whales in Japan’s coastal waters. The ports are Abashiri in Hokkaido, Ayukawa in Miyagi Prefecture, Wada in Chiba Prefecture and Taiji in Wakayama Prefecture.

In return, the proposal calls for Japan to phase out the catching of Antarctic minke whales.

Australian delegates opposed allowing whaling in Japan’s coastal areas, raising serious concern over the number of minke whales there.

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