12/20/2018, 12.19
JAPAN
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Tokyo to resume whaling for commercial purposes

The decision will be officially announced next week. In the last 30 years, countries like Australia and New Zealand have always hampered Japan's attempts. Since 1987, Tokyo has hunted specimens for "research purposes".

Tokyo (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Japan has decided to withdraw from the International Whaling Commission (IWC), in an attempt to resume the capture of specimens for commercial purposes for the first time in about 30 years, according to national media, citing government sources.

The Abe administration is considering the possibility of opening to the whaling the seas near Japan and its exclusive economic zone. However, he does not plan to do so in the Southern Ocean, where he conducted whaling for what he calls "scientific research".

The decision, which will be officially announced as early as next week, comes after decades of clashes between members of the IWC, in favor of and against whaling. To leave the IWC as of June 2019, Japan will have to notify the Commission by 1 January.

In the last 30 years, countries like Australia and New Zealand have always hindered Japan's attempts to resume commercial hunting for rather abundant species, such as Minke whales.

More recently, its proposal to loosen the rules of the IWC was rejected at an annual meeting held in Brazil in September. Tokyo responded with the veiled warning of its potential withdrawal.

Although Japan has halted commercial hunting, in line with a 1982 moratorium adopted by the IWC, since 1987 it has hunted whales for what it calls research purposes, a practice internationally criticized as a cover for commercial whaling of cetaceans.

Once out of the IWC, Japan will not be able to continue such "research" in the Southern Ocean. According to the Fisheries Agency, 41 Member States are in favor of whaling and 48 are against it.

Back in 2007, Japan had suggested that it could withdraw from the IWC in protest against the ban on commercial whaling, but was later persuaded by the United States and other countries to remain in the organization.

Japan became part of the IWC in 1951. The Commission was founded in 1948 under the International Convention on the Regulation of Whaling in order to preserve the species and achieve "orderly development of the whales hunting industry ".

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