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Minke whale

Minke whale

Len2040/Flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Japan to resume whaling in defiance of international court ruling

Less than 2 years after the International Court of Justice in the Netherlands ruled that Japan must stop killing whales, Japan has announced that it will relaunch its program to hunt minke whales in the Antarctic, BBC reports.

Japan joined an international moratorium on commercial whaling in 1982, but continued with “scientific” whaling programs that it claimed were exempt from the agreement. Antiwhaling groups and countries have argued that the programs aren’t actually carried out for research purposes, and in 2014 the international court agreed. Japan put its programs on hold when the ruling came down, and now it has reduced the number of minke whales it plans to kill each year from 1000 to 333.

The decision to resume whaling has drawn outrage from other countries and environmental groups.

Past ScienceInsider coverage:

February 2013: Japan's scientific whaling: an expensive proposition

31 March 2014: Japan ordered to stop scientific whaling

10 June 2014: Japanese official explains grounds for resuming scientific whaling

18 November 2014: Japan's new plan for research whaling calls for killing 333 minke whales annually

16 April 2015: Japan says it will hunt whales despite science panel's opposition

19 June 2015: Scientists renew objections to Japan's whaling program