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Tokyo considers resuming commercial whaling

At a recent International Whaling Commission meeting, Japan demanded that it be allowed to commercially hunt certain types of whale whose numbers have recovered since a ban on commercial whaling was introduced in 1986. The commission voted on this and refused. Now Tokyo is considering leaving the commission and resuming commercial whaling. Yet Japan - alongside Norway and Iceland - already effectively hunts whales through government-funded annual expeditions to the Antarctic.

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While Japan calls these hunts "scientific", campaigners say they are a front for commercial whaling since the meat is sold on the domestic market. While few Japanese eat whale meat these days, the right to hunt whales has important historical and cultural roots. Some Japanese commentators have accused other countries of cultural imperialism in demanding that all forms of whaling be banned. Our correspondents Constantin Simon, Gabin Tellenne and Aruna Popuri report.

A programme prepared by Patrick Lovett.

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