Japan Resumes Commercial Whaling

After 31 years, Japan has resumed commercial whaling. These are some of the first few images from the newly-legal practice.

Age Old Japanese Practice is Back

Japan has begun commercial slaughter of whales again — over 3 decades after halting the practice. ITV AFPTV Japan resumes commercial whaling after decades-long ban. The expeditions mark an end to Japan’s memorandum on commercial whaling after the country withdrew from the International Whaling Commission (IWC). But did Japan ever stop killing for whale meat? The resumption of commercial whaling has been the strong wish of not only the people of Kushiro but all those in the Japanese whaling industry. The practice was banned by the IWC in 1986after some species were nearly driven to extinction. Yet Japan continued to hunt under a “scientific research” quota — and much of the meat was sold for profit.

Japan caught as many as 1,200 whales in 2005 in protected Antarctic waters based on data from the IWC. Whales have been hunted for meat in Japan for centuries. Whale meat was promoted as a key source of protein in the post-WWII years, and included in school lunches. But cheaper meats have led to a decline in demand. As the amount of whale meat in the market has decreased due to whaling regulation, there have been less opportunities for ordinary people to eat whale. Fishermen are afraid eating whale will disappear in Japan, so they want more people to eat whale.

Whale meat represented only about 0.1% of Japan’s total meat consumption in 2016 based on local government data and only about 300 people are directly involved with whaling. But whaling supporters include Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Liberal Democratic Party head Toshihiro Nikai. The government plans to provide as much as $47 million towards whaling in 2019, dismissing international outrage over its decision. According to WWF, six out of the 13 great whale species are classified as endangered, even after decades of protection.