Japan announces withdrawal from IWC, set to resume commercial whaling
Nikkei -- Dec 27
The Japanese government officially announced on Wednesday to withdraw from the International Whaling Commission, a move that drew criticism from a global community worried about depleted whale populations.

The withdrawal enables Japan to pursue commercial whaling in its adjacent waters, including its Exclusive Economic Zone.

Japan will resume commercial whaling in July 2019, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga announced on Wednesday. The whaling area is to be confined to Japanese waters and the EEZ, and will not include the Antarctic Ocean or the Southern Hemisphere, he said.

The IWC was established in 1948 for "conservation of whale stocks" and "the orderly development of the whaling industry." The commission has 89 member governments, with Japan joining in 1951.

The group instituted a moratorium on commercial whaling in 1982. Japan initially opposed the freeze but then began complying in 1988, when the country's whalers were able to continue whaling, ostensibly for "scientific" purposes.

Species such as the minke whale are protected by the IWC, but since these species are not endangered, Tokyo wants to hunt them.

Leaving the IWC allows Japan to pursue commercial whaling for the first time in 30 years. At the same time, the country can no longer undertake "scientific" whaling in the Antarctic Ocean under international law.

News sources: Nikkei, ANNnewsCH
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