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Japan resumes imports of whale meat in Sept., 1st in 17 yrs+
[November 28, 2008]

Japan resumes imports of whale meat in Sept., 1st in 17 yrs+

(Japan Economic Newswire Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) LONDON, Nov. 29_(Kyodo) _ The Japanese government in September approved buying whale meat from Iceland, the first such purchase since 1991, relevant authorities said Saturday, adding some of the meat has been put on the Japanese market since clearing customs.

Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry confirmed the purchase while refusing to comment on details such as what kinds of whales the meat is from or the amounts purchased.

Opponents of whaling criticize any trade in whale meat as a violation of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species.

The Japanese government claims the move does not constitute a challenge to the convention because both countries have reservations about some of the restrictions under the treaty.

Japan, hoping to resume commercial whaling, is believed to have decided on the purchase from Iceland partly to support whaling industries at home and abroad.

Iceland dropped out of the International Whaling Commission between 1991 and 2002, and could not trade in whale meat with IWC members including Japan during the period.

In 2006, Iceland resumed commercial whaling after a hiatus of two decades. It caught seven minke whales and as many fin whales amid weak domestic demand and was forced to discontinue commercial whaling in 2007.

This year, it has already reached its catch quota of 40 minke whales, according to the Icelandic agriculture and fisheries ministry.

Copyright ? 2008 Kyodo News International, Inc.

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