Japan to leave whaling commission to continue hunting

2017 shows a minke whale being landed at a port in Kushiro Hokkaido

Japan wants to escape from the frustrations of the existing Moratorium on whaling, allegedly from the worldwide whaling Commission (IWC).

Japan's withdrawal, planned for next year, could spark criticism from European and other countries opposed to the practice of whaling.

A fisheries agency official denied the report, however, insisting no decision had been taken on whether to withdraw from the IWC, which banned commercial whaling in 1986.

While Japan has hunted whales under the guise of science since the 1980s, this would be the first time in 30 years that it hunted them exclusively for commercial purposes, Kyodo News reported.

Agence France-Presse quoted an official as saying the agency was "considering all options", including the possible withdrawal from the 89-member commission.

Japanese whaling expeditions in Antarctic and Pacific waters kill hundreds of whales annually, ostensibly for research. IWC imposed a ban on commercial whaling in the 1980s due to dwindling stocks.

In order to leave the IWC next year, Japan needs to notify the commission by January 1.

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"This is the path of a pirate whaling nation, with a troubling disregard for global rule".

Japan needs to notify the IWC by January 1 if it wished to leave. They criticize what they call the whaling commission's lack of tolerance of diverse views on whaling and its inability to resolve the long divide between conservationists and supporters of whale use.

Japan previously threatened to leave the IWC in 2007, but changed its mind after talking with representatives from the United States and other member nations, according to Kyodo News.

Japan has previously threatened to quit the IWC, arguing that the moratorium was supposed to be a temporary measure and accusing the IWC of abandoning its original objective - managing the sustainable use of global whale stocks.

Japanese whaling officials said the whaling organisation is supposed to pursue sustainability but has become an anti-whaling body.

Japan has tenaciously asserted at IWC meetings that commercial whaling will be resumed for certain species whose populations are found to have sufficiently recovered based on scientific data obtained through whaling research. A "sustainable" whaling is therefore, after 32 years of fishing moratorium.

Currently, four countries - Iceland, Norway, Canada and Indonesia - conduct commercial whaling of 13 species covered by the IWC moratorium, including blue whales.

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