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Japan to declare continuation of 'research whaling' at September IWC meet

Kyodo

Japan plans to declare its intention to continue “research whaling” during a general meeting of the International Whaling Commission to be held in Slovenia in mid-September, government sources said Wednesday.

Tokyo is expected to convey its desire to resume its scientific whaling program in the Antarctic despite an order by the International Court of Justice in March to halt the activity, a move that is likely to draw flak from antiwhaling IWC member countries.

Japan wants to resume commercial whaling suspended by an IWC moratorium adopted in 1982, and by conducting “scientific whaling” in the Antarctic and the Northwestern Pacific it had sought to provide evidence to end the moratorium.

But after the IWC forbid the research whaling in March, Japan halted the whaling in the Antarctic for fiscal 2014 to next March 31 while reducing the catch in the northwestern Pacific, which is not covered by the IWC’s order.

Seeking to resume research whaling in the Antarctic in fiscal 2015, Tokyo is expected to explain at the IWC meeting from Sept. 15 to 18 that it will draw up a new whaling plan centering on a reduced catch.

Japan is also expected to seek acceptance from participating countries in Japan’s continued research whaling in the Northwestern Pacific.

As for coastal whaling, Japan is currently hunting whales not subject to the IWC’s management of whale resources near the coasts of Abashiri, Hokkaido, and Taiji, Wakayama.

Tokyo is also expected to seek the IWC’s consent to its coastal hunt of whales subject to the IWC’s management, such as minke.

According to the Fisheries Agency, 49 of the 88 IWC member countries are against whaling.