Japan will officially announce Wednesday its withdrawal from the International Whaling Commission in a bid to resume commercial whaling, government sources said Tuesday.

The government has decided to quit the international organization as its attempts over the last 30 years to resume commercial whaling of relatively abundant species such as minke whales have been stymied by anti-whaling countries.

To leave the IWC in 2019, Japan needs to notify the commission by Jan. 1. The government is considering allowing commercial whaling in nearby seas and within its exclusive economic zone, other sources have said.

Japan has halted commercial whaling in line with a moratorium adopted in 1982 by the IWC. Since 1987, however, it has hunted whales for what it calls research purposes, a practice criticized internationally as a cover for commercial whaling.