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Last year, the country pulled from its commitment to the International Whaling Commission (IWC), which banned the activity back in 1986.
Yoshihide Suga, Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary, slammed the IWC for being ‘too focused on whale conservation and not sufficiently interested in developing a sustainable whaling industry’.
In a statement, Suga said: “In its long history, Japan has used whales not only as a source of protein but also for a variety of other purposes… Engagement in whaling has been supporting local communities, and thereby developed the life and culture of using whales.”
The decision was blasted by environmental-organization Japan Greenpeace who urged the government to ‘recommit to the IWC and prioritize new measures for marine conservation’.
“The world’s oceans face multiple threats such as acidification and plastic pollution, in addition to overfishing,” said Sam Annesley, Executive Director at Greenpeace Japan.
“As a country surrounded by oceans where people’s lives have been heavily reliant on marine resources, it is essential for Japan to work towards healthy oceans. Japan’s government has so far failed to resolve these problems.”
According to Quartz: “A fleet of five vessels from six whaling operators in four prefectures are planning a ceremony with government officials to mark their new-but-traditional mission.”