Japan kicks off Pacific whaling campaign

June 14, 2017
Japan is a signatory to the International Whaling Commission's moratorium on whale hunting, but uses a loophole in the temporary ban allowing for lethal scientific research. 

Japan on Wednesday kicked off a whaling campaign in the northwestern Pacific, in a move sure to anger animal rights activists and others calling for an end to the hunts.

Three ships are leaving port on a three-month mission to catch 43 and 134 sei , according to the government.

The new mission comes after Japan on Sunday started an annual coastal whaling hunt along its northern Pacific shores, aiming to catch 47 minke whales until mid-July.

Japan is a signatory to the International Whaling Commission's moratorium on whale hunting, but uses a loophole in the temporary ban allowing for lethal scientific research.

Tokyo claims it is trying to prove the is large enough to sustain a return to commercial hunting for a traditional source of food.

Foreign pressure on Japan to stop whaling has hardened conservatives and politicians, making it a rare thorny issue for Japan's otherwise amiable diplomacy.

Japanese consumer demand for whale meat has declined significantly over the years, however, throwing a question domestically over whether whaling missions still make economic sense.

In 2014, the United Nations' International Court of Justice (ICJ) ordered Tokyo to end its hunt in the Antarctic waters, saying the project did not meet conventional scientific standards.

Japan cancelled its 2014-15 hunt, only to resume it the following year under a new programme, saying the fresh plan is genuinely scientific.

The Antarctic hunt has seen high seas clashes between Japanese whalers and animal activists.

Explore further: Norway kicks off minke hunt, raises quota to 999 whales

Related Stories

Japan wraps up Pacific whale hunt

July 29, 2014

Japan announced Tuesday that it had wrapped up a whale hunt in the Pacific, the second campaign since the UN's top court ordered Tokyo to halt a separate slaughter in the Antarctic.

Japan kills 333 whales in annual Antarctic hunt

March 31, 2017

A Japanese whaling fleet returned to port Friday after an annual Antarctic hunt that killed more than 300 of the mammals as Tokyo pursues the programme in defiance of global criticism.

Recommended for you

Mammal long thought extinct in Australia resurfaces

December 15, 2017

A crest-tailed mulgara, a small carnivorous marsupial known only from fossilised bone fragments and presumed extinct in NSW for more than century, has been discovered in Sturt National Park north-west of Tibooburra.

Finding a lethal parasite's vulnerabilities

December 15, 2017

An estimated 100 million people around the world are infected with Strongyloides stercoralis, a parasitic nematode, yet it's likely that many don't know it. The infection can persist for years, usually only causing mild symptoms. ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.