The two ships will begin fishing off the country’s coast next Monday. In mid-November, the whalers will return to Hiroshima.
Japan resumed commercial whaling in 2019 after a forced hiatus of three decades after it previously withdrew from the International Whaling Commission (IWC). The reason was Japan’s frustration with a moratorium on whaling in 1986. Tokyo has long complained that some member states are only interested in protecting whales and have campaigned unsuccessfully to restore commercial fishing. Since then, the G7 country has been limited to its own territorial waters and economic zone.
Japan has halted fishing in Antarctica, according to the official statement, “for scientific purposes.” Japan claims that commercial fishing will not endanger marine mammal populations. Whaling has always been a matter of Japan’s national sovereignty. It was once the American occupation forces who urged Japan to slaughter whales after the loss of World War II to provide protein for a starving population. But that was a long time ago: today the meat of a black whale finds few enthusiasts.
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