Japan’s ideal option, which it pursued for 30 years, was to conduct sustainable whaling as a member of the IWC, according to the commission’s dual mandate to promote the whaling industry while assuring responsible conservation practices.
However, anti-whaling countries within the IWC have long neglected this mandate and imposed a permanent ban on whaling, even if done sustainably. This was why Japan withdrew from the IWC, in a decision supported by a more than two-thirds majority, according to a recent poll. It was not driven by any political group or “right-wing nationalism.”
Importantly, in conformity with international law, Japan will conduct its whaling activities only within its own territorial sea and exclusive economic zone and will have catch limits low enough to ensure the long-term sustainability of the affected species.