Whale hunts may have stopped in Japan, but eating whale meat hasn’t. In an act of defiance against a recent ruling by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) halting the nation’s whale hunts, pro-whaling legislators and lobby group gathered on Tuesday to eat whale meat while pledging to continue what they call one of the country’s centuries-old traditions.
Japan has announced recently that it would cancel the hunts scheduled in the Antarctic for next season because of the injunction by the ICJ. The UN court ordered Japan to stop giving out permits for their whale hunts, which many pro-whaling officials protested. Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi urged his fellow lawmakers in the meeting to continue protecting its whale-eating culture, which dates back to the 12th century. He added that being a maritime nation, Japan “has a policy of harvesting and sustainably using the protein source from the ocean, and that is unshakable.”
Despite the ruling on the Antarctic expeditions, Japan is still mulling whether to continue in two other small-scale hunts off the northern coast of Japan and the northern Pacific. Some legislators are pushing for these two hunts to continue with ruling Liberal Democratic Party member Shunichi Suzuki from the House of Representatives officially filing a petition to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to permit the expeditions. This year’s fleet from the Antarctic came home early after catching a quarter of its annual quota with around 251 minke whales only.
[via The Republic]