JAPAN — Despite international scrutiny, the Japanese government is about to resume profitable whale hunting.
According to the BBC, Japan has now withdrawn from the International Whaling Commission, or 'IWC'.
The IWC's site states that it was set up in 1946 with the purpose of proper conservation of whale stocks and the management of whaling.
Kyodo News reported that Japanese whaling fleets will set sail Monday morning, a day after Tokyo formally left the IWC, with a target of catching 227 whales for the year.
Although Japan has not technically practiced commercial whaling for 31 years, it has been hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean for 'scientific research' under the exception of an IWC rule.
Since 1987, Japan has caught between 200 and 1,200 whales annually, under the ostensible purpose of observing stocks to establish sustainable quotas.
Japan opened itself up to accusations of a cover-up from critics when whale meat from the 'research' usually went on sale.
Hideki Moronuki of the Japanese fishing ministry told the BBC that whaling "will be conducted within Japan's territorial waters and Exclusive Economic Zone." But why is Japan restarting whaling now?
According to the AFP, in a 2016 IWC gathering, Japan asked IWC members to allow for small hunts around coastal communities, arguing that whale meat is part of its history and culture.
And what impact will Japan's whaling have?
Japan plans to hunt three species of whale: minke, Bryde's and sei whales.
According to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, Minke and Bryde's are not endangered and Sei whales numbers are improving.