In this year’s whaling season in the northwest Pacific Ocean, Japan has killed 177 whales.
Last June, three big ships left port to begin the hunting season where they caught 134 Sei whales and 34 Minke whales.
While Japan is a signatory to the International Whaling Commission’s (IWC) moratorium on whale hunting, Tokyo exploits a loophole which allows whales to be killed in the name of scientific research.
According to Japan fisheries agency, the hunt is conducted for scientific research. They will collect data from the whale’s stomach and send their findings to the IWC.
However, critics believed it is just a cover-up for commercial whaling, as the meats from the harpooned mammals are later sold.
The 1986 International moratorium bans the killing of giant sea mammals for commercial purposes, though killing whales is still allowed in Japan.
In 2014, the United Nations International Court of Justice (ICJ) ordered Japan to end a regular hunt in Antarctic waters, saying the project did not meet conventional scientific standards.
Japan canceled the hunt for just one season, resuming it the following year under a new program which it promised was genuinely scientific – reducing the number of whales it would kill instead.