Japan's government has declared that the country will continue whaling in the Antarctic. That is, that government recently told the United Nations Secretary-General in a special declaration that the nation will not follow the March 2014 international ruling asking it to stop whaling in Antarctic waters, as the Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) reported.
Japan suspended its whaling in 2014. Earlier this year, Japan released a whaling plan known as Newrep-A, noting that the country will kill 333 minke whales each year, 2015 through 2027. Minkes are one of the smallest baleen whales and can measure up to 20,000 pounds and 35 feet. The Antarctic minke is a separate species, Balaenoptera bonaerensis.
All of this occurred after Australia brought action in 2010 in the International Court of Justice against Japan, noting that the country had said that its previous whaling in the Antarctic was strictly for scientific exploration.
The newspaper also said that the Australian government is now considering legal options against Japan, in response to the country's decision to continue whaling despite the ruling.
Australia's Federal Environment Minister, Greg Hunt, said, "We are disappointed by Japan's decision, and we hope that Japan does not undertake so-called 'scientific' whaling this (southern) summer in the Southern Ocean," according to the SMH article.
Whale meat has become a less popular food for younger generations in Japan, but retains cultural importance for many Japanese, according to a 2006 Gallup poll conducted by the Nippon Research Center, commissioned by the advocacy organization Greenpeace.
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