Japan to resume commercial whaling

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1982 - The IWC adopts a moratorium on commercial whaling.

Japan's withdrawal, planned for next year, could spark criticism from European and other countries opposed to the practice of whaling.

The government would make a decision by the end of the year, reports the Japanese news agency Kyodo today on the basis of anonymous sources. Japan dresses up its hunt as "research", despite an global court order, while Norway and Iceland use clauses allowing them to contest the IWC ban.

Japan's rationale could be also questioned as it is a member of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea that calls for the use and conservation of marine resources via worldwide organisations.

Japanese whaling expeditions in Antarctic and Pacific waters kill hundreds of whales annually, ostensibly for research.

Ruling party members, many of whom support resuming commercial whaling as part of Japan's traditional food culture, said it's not helpful to stay in the IWC.

To leave the IWC in 2019, Japan needs to notify the commission by Jan 1.

The country is withdrawing from IWC and, with that, it is expected to resume commercial whaling activities.

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Conservation campaigners welcomed the possible end to whaling in the Southern Ocean but warned that by withdrawing from the IWC, Japan risked becoming a "pirate whaling nation".

The IWC was established in 1946 to conserve and manage the world's whale and cetacean population.

Authorities in Japan say eating whales is a piece of its way of life.

A Japanese whaling fleets leaves the city of Ishinomaki in April 2014 as a Japan Coast Guard vessel provides security.

Japan has previously threatened to quit the IWC, arguing that the moratorium was supposed to be a temporary measure and accusing the IWC of abandoning its original objective - managing the sustainable use of global whale stocks.

It has long threatened to leave the IWC, most recently after the IWC meeting in Brazil in September.

Japanese whaling officials the whaling organization is supposed to pursue sustainability but has become an anti-whaling body.

However, it has continued to hunt whales in the Southern Ocean for what it calls "scientific research" purposes, but this has been seen as a cover for commercial purposes. But Japan resumed whaling in the region two years later under a revamped programme that included reducing its catch quota by about two-thirds. For instance, Norway and Iceland use technical objections to get around the ban, and Japan historically has claimed it was hunting whales for scientific purposes, The Guardian reported.