JAPAN — The Japanese government reportedly has plans to resume commercial whaling for the first time in 30 years.
According to Kyodo News, Japan plans to withdraw from the International Whaling Commission in 2019 amid plans to resume commercial whaling.
Japan has to present its official withdrawal to the commission by the end of the year.
If accepted, the decision would be effective the following June.
The decision comes after the IWC rejected Japan's proposal to resume commercial whaling at an annual meeting in Brazil in September.
Although Japan has not technically practiced commercial whaling for 30 years, it has been hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean for "scientific research" under the exception of an IWC rule.
According to the BBC, Japanese whalers have caught between about 200 and 1,200 whales each year.
They claim they are investigating stock levels to see whether the whales are endangered or not.
If Japan leaves the IWC, the country can no longer continue to conduct "scientific" whaling expeditions in the Antarctic.
However, the Japanese government plans to limit its whaling to its exclusive economic zone, which covers an area of over four million square kilometers, according to geography website World Atlas.
Iceland and Norway are the only other countries in the world that authorize whaling.
Both are members of the IWC.
IWC members Denmark, Russia, St.
Vincent and the Grenadines, and the US allow indigenous or aboriginal subsistence whaling for a few native populations who hunt whales as part of their culture.