Japan said Wednesday it is withdrawing from the International Whaling Commission and will resume commercial whaling next year, in a move expected to spark international criticism.
The announcement had been widely expected and comes after Japan failed in a bid earlier this year to convince the IWC to allow it to resume commercial whaling.
“We have decided to withdraw from the International Whaling Commission in order to resume commercial whaling in July next year,” top government spokesman Yoshihide Suga told reporters.
“Commercial whaling… will be limited to Japan”s territorial waters and exclusive economic zones. We will not hunt in the Antarctic waters or in the southern hemisphere,” Suga added.
Tokyo has repeatedly threatened to pull out of the body, and has been regularly criticised for catching hundreds of whales a year for “scientific research” despite being a signatory to a moratorium on hunting the animals.