Japan was at the centre of an global outcry last night after reports emerged that it was planning to resume the commercial hunting of whales.
Japan's withdrawal from the IWC is planned for 2019 and will be announced by the end of this year, according to the report. It is expected its departure will be opposed globally, particularly among anti-whaling nations. But one year later, Japan resumed hunting in the region, albeit with a reduced quota that was two-thirds of its previous catch, The Guardian reported.
Most recently, its proposal to ease the IWC's decision-making rules was also voted down in an annual meeting held in Brazil in September, leading Tokyo to issue a veiled warning of a potential pullout.
While Japan halted commercial whaling in 1988, in line with a moratorium adopted in 1982 by the IWC, it has hunted whales since 1987 for what it calls "scientific research".
Japan also suggested in 2007 that it might withdraw from the IWC, in protest at the ban on commercial whaling, but it was later persuaded by the United States and other countries to remain in the organization.
Japan joined the organisation in 1951.
Japan to withdraw from International Whaling Commission to resume hunts - Kyodo News
The IWC was established in 1948 under the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling.
Following the ballot, Japan's IWC commissioner Joji Morishita said differences with anti-whaling nations were "very clear" and Japan would now plan its "next steps". Whale meat now sold in Japan is obtained as a "by-product" of whaling research in the Antarctic Ocean and the Northwest Pacific, except for imports from Iceland and elsewhere.
In the past, Japan attempted to get permission to commercially hunt just those whales that have greater numbers in the wild, such as the common minke whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata), which is listed as an animal of "least concern" by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
"If commercial whaling based on science is completely denied, and if there's no possibility for the different positions and views to coexist with mutual understanding and respect, then Japan will be pressed to undertake a fundamental reassessment of its position", the minister said.
2005 - Anti-whaling Sea Shepherd starts obstructing Japan's research whaling in the Antarctic.
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