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International News

Dec 26, 2018
11:33AM

Japan decides to withdraw from IWC

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Japan has decided to withdraw from the International Whaling Commission (IWC) and will resume commercial whaling July next year.

Top official spokesperson Yoshihide Suga said, Tokyo will officially inform the IWC of its decision by the end of the year, which will mean the withdrawal comes into effect by June 30.

Suga said, leaving the IWC means Japanese whalers will be able to resume hunting in Japanese coastal waters of minke and other whales currently protected by the IWC.

However, Japan will not be able to continue the so-called scientific research hunts in the Antarctic that it has been exceptionally allowed as an IWC member under the Antarctic Treaty. The withdrawal also means Japan joins Iceland and Norway in openly defying the IWC's ban on commercial whale hunting.

Tokyo argues that whaling is an important part of Japan's traditions, and the withdrawal would allow fishermen to pass country's rich whaling culture onto the next generation. However, activist groups slammed the decision, with Greenpeace calling it a "sneaky" announcement.

The IWC, established in 1946 to conserve and manage the world's whale and cetacean population, introduced a moratorium on commercial whaling in 1986.

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