Japan will withdraw from the International Whaling Commission (IWC) and resume commercial whaling from July, it said on Wednesday, abandoning a decades-old campaign to persuade the commission to allow it to hunt whales commercially.
The announcement drew criticism from anti-whaling groups and others, with Australia saying it was "extremely disappointed" and New Zealand regretting the resumption of the "outdated and unnecessary" commercial killing of the ocean mammals.
Japan's commercial whaling will be limited to its own territorial waters and its exclusive economic zone, said Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, who made the announcement at a news conference after a cabinet decision on Tuesday.
"From July 2019, after the withdrawal comes into effect on June 30, Japan will conduct commercial whaling within Japan's territorial sea and its exclusive economic zone, and will cease the take of whales in the Antarctic Ocean/the Southern Hemisphere," Suga said in a statement.
"The whaling will be conducted in accordance with international law and within the catch limits calculated in accordance with the method adopted by the IWC to avoid negative impact on cetacean resources," he said.