Though Japan had stayed away from commercial whaling for nearly 30 years after becoming a signatory to International Whaling Commission it announced that it will resume the practice soon. Japan has been criticized by several conservation bodies in the past for killing whales during their annual whaling exercises in the Antarctic region so it said that in line with the nation’s policy of sustainable use of aquatic resources it will carry out limited whaling. After IWC had imposed a blanket ban on commercial whaling practices in 1980, Japan had not broken it but now it feels that stocks have recovered enough to resume commercial hunts from July.
Japan’s cabinet secretary Yoshihide Suga stated that the nation is disappointed with the attitude of IWC members as most of them are conservationists that focus on protection of only whale stocks though there is a treaty that both whale conservation and whaling industry will be supported. He announced that Japan has to regrettably move out of the IWC as it is impossible for two different state views to coexist together. Mr. Yoshihide confirmed that Japan would limit its commercial whaling practices to its territorial waters and exclusive 200 mile economic zone along its coastal region.
He also affirmed that Japan would not carry out any whaling expedition in the Antarctic region or in the northwest section of Pacific Ocean as non-signatories to IWC are not allowed those activities. Three decades ago a moratorium was imposed by IWC on commercial whaling in view of the fast depleting whale population. Japan had then resorted to research whaling in the region but was criticized by conservationists as it was secretly carrying out commercial whale hunting as the whale meat was being sold in its markets. This decision of Japan was criticized by Greenpeace and Australia since Japan kills approximately 600 whales every year in Antarctic and Northern section of Pacific Ocean.