20 September 2005

Japan: First whales killed in Japan hunt

Japanese whalers have killed the first of 60 whales in their 2005 coastal hunt off the north coast of Japan, which started early in September.

According to reports, three minke whales were harpooned off the coast of Kushiro on the first day of the hunt, which is scheduled to continue until October 31st.

This coastal hunt is just one of a number of whaling programmes undertaken by Japan, which together will target 1,180 whales in the 2005/2006 season, despite an international ban on commercial whaling.

Japan exploits a legal loophole in the international convention that regulates these activities (the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling) and every year, against the wishes of the international community, it issues permits for so called scientific research. Japan's lethal science programme is, however, a thin veil for commercial whaling. Meat from these hunts is sold in supermarkets and restaurants and whale meat has also recently been added to school menus.

Japan's Antarctic hunt, which is due to start later this year, will target double the number of minke whales than last year, and for the first time will also target fin whales.

Source: www.wdcs.org


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