Japan’s research whaling program is too small to be scientifically accurate, so more whales should be killed next year, the head of the program said today.
Fukuzo Nagasaki, director of the semi-governmental Institute of Cetacean Research, said the 300 whales being caught by Japanese ships in the Antarctic this year are not enough to make an accurate assessment of whale stocks and should be increased to 825 next season.
Critics have charged that Japan is using the so-called research program to continue its whaling industry despite a worldwide moratorium on commercial whaling imposed in 1986 by the International Whaling Commission.
Japan officially ended its commercial whaling at the end of the 1986-87 season, when it took 1,941 whales.
The following season it told the commission it would kill 875 minke and sperm whales for research purposes. But strong opposition from international environmental groups led Japan to cut back the research program’s goal last season to 300 minke whales.