Japan is reportedly set to soon announce it is withdrawing from the International Whaling Commission.

Disagreements over Japan's whaling operations have deadlocked the commission for three decades, during which the camp of anti-whaling nations has gradually gained strength. Japan's decision is best understood through a combination of both international and domestic reasons.

Withdrawing from the IWC isn't likely to have far-reaching diplomatic implications beyond the whaling issue. Japan and its opponents in the IWC will free themselves of the no-win confrontation over whaling and focus on their more urgent need for strategic cooperation in the Indo-Pacific. Japan will carry out a long overdue reform of the whaling industry through its normal framework of administrative reform and marketization.