FILE - In this September, 2017, photo, a minke whale is unloaded at a port after a whaling for scientific purposes in Kushiro, in the northernmost main island of Hokkaido. Japan says it is leaving the International Whaling Commission to resume commercial hunts but says it will no longer go to the Antarctic to hunt. Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said Wednesday, Dec. 26, 2018, that Japan's commercial whaling will be limited to its territorial and economic waters.(Kyodo News via AP, File)

Japan considers leaving IWC to resume commercial whale hunts

December 20, 2018 - 1:34 am

TOKYO (AP) — Japan is considering leaving the International Whaling Commission to resume commercial hunts after unsuccessfully campaigning for decades to gain support for the cause.

The Fisheries Agency said Thursday officials haven't made a final decision but are considering the step.

Japan's request for a resumption of commercial whaling was most recently denied at the IWC meeting in September. IWC imposed a ban on commercial whaling in the 1980s due to dwindling stocks.

Japan has switched to what it calls research whaling, and says stocks have recovered enough that commercial hunts should resume.

Japanese whaling officials the whaling organization is supposed to pursue sustainability but has become an anti-whaling body.

Japan cut back on its catch after a 2014 international court ruling.

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