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Japan to Restart Whaling Program in Antarctic despite ICJ Ruling

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Japan will resume whaling in the Antarctic in 2016 after a break of more than a year.

The decision comes despite an International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruling that Japan cease all whaling.

The Japanese government says it has taken into account the court ruling and its “scientific” whaling program will be much smaller.

However, Japan’s announcement has been condemned by environmental groups and the Australian and UK governments.

“We do not accept in any way, shape or form the concept of killing whales for so-called <<scientific research>>,” said Australian Environment Minister Greg Hunt.

“We are deeply disappointed with Japan’s decision to restart whaling in the Southern Ocean,” said the UK environment ministry.

Japan’s whaling fleet could set sail again within weeks and head for the Southern Ocean.Japan resumes whaling program

Under Japan’s revised plan, it will reduce the number of minke whales caught each year by two thirds to 333.

The Japanese authorities believe their plan is scientifically reasonable but it is unlikely to placate opponents, in particular the Australian government.

In 2014 Australia won a case against Japan in the international court of justice in the Netherlands.

The court ruled that Japan’s “scientific” whaling program was not scientific at all – and ordered Tokyo to recall its fleet.

Japan started its whaling program in 1987 – a year after an international moratorium was enacted.

It accuses critics of being sentimental about whales and disregarding scientific evidence about the sustainability of whaling.

The ICJ says Japan has caught some 3,600 minke whales since its current program began in 2005.