Japan starts controversial whaling off northern island

Whalers from Japan on Monday have started hunting up to 51 minke whales in waters off the country's northern island of Hokkaido, the government said despite international criticism.

From Monday to late October a fleet of four whaling ships plans to hunt in a 50-kilometre radius from Kushiro port, the eastern part of Hokkaido, the Fisheries Agency said.

The hunt will be conducted as part of what Japan calls a “scientific research whaling programme” in the north-western Pacific Ocean.

In March 2014, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled that Japan's research whaling programme in the Antarctic contravened a 1986 moratorium on whale hunting.

The ruling prompted Tokyo to suspend whaling in the Antarctic in the 2014 season. But it resumed the operation in December 2015 and caught 333 minke whales in the Southern Ocean during a two-month trip.

Japan officially stopped commercial whaling in 1987 in response to the previous year’s moratorium. International critics however say the country has since used a loophole to keep whaling under the pretext of scientific research.

Last update: Mon, 05/09/2016 - 10:01
Author: 

More from World

Putin accuses Obama administration of trying to delegitimize Trump

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday that the outgoing US presidential administration of Barack Obama has...

Erdogan says lenders must improve access to credit or face government

Lenders in Turkey must increase access to credit for businesses or they will have to face the government, Turkish...

Turkish prosecutor seeks up to 142 years in jail for Kurdish leader

A Turkish prosecutor is seeking up to 142 years behind bars for Selahattin Demirtas, the leader of the pro-Kurdish...

Support for Gambia's Jammeh crumbling as sixth minister resigns

Gambia's tourism and culture minister said on Tuesday he will step down, in what was a sign of dwindling support for...

China's Xi warns against trade war ahead of Trump inauguration

Chinese President Xi Jinping warned against a new trade war and presented China as a global champion of free...