Japanese whalers are discussing plans ahead of the resumption of commercial hunting along the north-eastern coasts for the first time in three decades.
Their preparations follow Japan’s decision in December to leave the International Whaling Commission, abandoning hope of gaining support within the organisation that has become balanced in favour of conservationists.
The Fisheries Agency says whalers in six coastal towns are to bring five vessels to form a joint fleet to sail along the north-eastern coasts beginning on July 1, one day after Japan formally withdraws from the IWC.
Japan will stop its much-criticised hunts in the Antarctic, where it had conducted so-called “research hunts” since the IWC imposed a moratorium in the 1980s.
Japan has cut back on its catch due to limited whale meat consumption at home.