The Wakayama Prefecture town of Taiji, known for its whaling and dolphin hunts, said Wednesday it has established a sister city relationship with a town in the Faroe Islands in the North Atlantic that conducts similar harvesting.

Taiji Mayor Kazutaka Sangen told a news conference he visited the Faroe town of Klaksvic and concluded a partnership agreement on Saturday.

"Taiji has faced criticism from anti-whaling groups, but I hope people will know there is another town that is culturally similar to us," Sangen said.

The traditional drive-hunting method of catching dolphins and small whales practiced by the two towns has drawn international criticism because fishermen herd the animals into coves where they are killed.

The mayor of Klaksvik is expected to visit Taiji later this year and discuss exchange programs, according to Taiji officials.

Sangen visited Klaksvik last August to discuss the partnership, but the signing of the accord was postponed as Klaksvik needed to make some arrangements with its assembly.