Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said on Wednesday that Tokyo made a decision to pull out from the International Whaling Commission (IWC) starting in 2019 to resume commercial whaling in July after a 30-year pause, local media reported.
Japanese media said that Japan could no longer take advantage of the IWC exemption for scientific whaling if it withdrew from the group because the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Seas requires its signatories, including Japan, to work through "the appropriate worldwide organizations" for marine mammal conservation.
"The Government of Japan must urgently act to conserve marine ecosystems, rather than resume commercial whaling", Annesley said.
The move on Wednesday, which is expected to draw worldwide criticism, came more than three months after the global body for the conservation of whales rejected a Tokyo-led proposal to lift a 32-year ban on the commercial hunting of the mammals.
"But if we don't explain internationally that whales are increasing. people won't understand", she added.
Commercial whaling has been banned by IWC since 1986, but Japan has long lobbied for the restrictions to be eased.
Japan began scientific whaling in 1987, a year after an worldwide whaling moratorium began.
"The next great thing about it is that if they leave the IWC, that means the Atlantic whale sanctuary will then go ahead because they've been voting against that for years".
Paul Watson, the founder of the anti-whaling activist group Sea Shepherd, also said in a statement that Japan would be declaring itself "a pirate whaling nation" by withdrawing from the IWC.
Nevertheless, so-called scientific research hunts were exceptionally allowed under a controversial clause in the Antarctic Treaty.
Despite the fact that Japan officially refrained from whaling for about 30 years, whale meat from time to time could be found in the country's supermarkets and restaurants.
However, Japan's conservative government argues that there is a need to pass whaling culture on to the next generation.
"The declaration today is out of step with the worldwide community, let alone the protection needed to safeguard the future of our oceans and these majestic creatures", global conservationist group Greenpeace said.
It makes no secret however of the fact that meat from the expeditions ends up on dinner tables. He said the country's ships will not hunt in the Antarctic or in the southern hemisphere, which was the main source of concern for Australia. Fisheries officials say that whale meat is more popular with older segments of the Japanese population than among the young.
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