Japan Plans to Withdraw from IWC for Commercial Whaling

The Daily Yomiuri (Toyko, Japan), December 21, 2018 | Go to article overview

Japan Plans to Withdraw from IWC for Commercial Whaling


With the aim of resuming commercial whale hunting, Japan is likely to withdraw from the International Whaling Commission, it was learned Thursday.

The government is planning the departure as there is no prospect of resumption as things stand now, due to the moratorium on commercial whaling adopted by the IWC. Japan has nevertheless observed the moratorium. Its departure is expected to be opposed globally, particularly among anti-whaling nations.

The IWC was set up for the conservation and sustainable use of whales. Currently it has 89 member nations, including Japan. The majority of members are against whaling.

The IWC adopted the moratorium in 1982 to preserve whales and Japan suspended commercial whaling in 1988. Whale meat currently 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.

Japan has tenaciously asserted at IWC meetings that commercial whaling will be resumed for certain species whose populations are found to have sufficiently recovered, based on scientific data obtained through whaling research.

Yet whaling and anti-whaling countries have clashed over the matter. A situation described by a government source as "the IWC being unable to decide anything on resource management" has been continuing, even causing doubt over the IWC's significance as an international organization. …

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