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Hundreds of Pregnant Minkes Killed by Japanese Hunters in the Antarctic


Japanese hunters are now on the spotlight after it emerged that they had caught and killed a whopping 122 pregnant minke whales, in the guise of it being part of their ‘field survey’ for the Arctic Summer.

UN Ruling Research

According to a report that was delivered to the IWC (International Whaling Commission), it has been revealed that roughly about 333 minkes were caught.

Moreover, the said team that committed the killings is said to have left Japan on November 2017, and headed to the Southern Ocean; before returning in March 2018.

Questions are arising after it was revealed that Japanese hunters killed 122 pregnant minke, with the Japanese government stating that it is part of their research

In response, Japan has stated that its whaling programme is strictly carried out for scientific purposes, despite a critical ruling made by the UN in 2014 whereby its ‘lethal research’ was given global condemnation.

After the publishing of the new research by the UN ruling, Japan went on to state that it was imperative for the country to understand the ecosystem of Antarctica by sampling, collecting, as well as analyzing these animals.

The Statistics

The NEWEREP-A, a denotion for the country’s New Scientific Whale Research Program in the Antarctic Ocean, delivered a report to the IWC explaining the catching of 333 minkes, with 181 of them being female and 152 of them being male, as per its recent biological field survey, which happens to be the third one that they have conducted in the said area.

Whaling has been an ancient tradition in Japan, and became extremely popular after the country was devastated by World War Two, relying on whales as their main source of meat

In its new research plan, Japan has minimized the number of whales it catches every year, sticking to just 330.

Moreover, the data further reveals that during the 2017/2018 hunk, of the 122 minke females that were captured while expecting, 53 of the females had not grown to maturity, as well as 61 males that had also not fully matured.

After a number of weeks taking surveys, the Japan team captured all the whales within a short span of about 12 weeks, before returning back to the country. The whale meat is expected to be sold to a booming market that has a liking to whale meat.

The Reason Why Japan Hunts Whales

According to Article 8 of the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling that has been active since 1946, countries have the right to capture, kill, and treat whales with regard to scientific research; and this is the rule that Japan has claimed to consistently follow with regard to all its hunts.

Over the years, whales have become increasingly endangered due to over-whaling which has resulted in a massive reduction in their numbers.

Apart from claiming research purposes, the Japanese government has also said that whale hunting is a strict ancient form of Japanese culture.

Moreover, some coastal communities biased in Ishinomaki as well as the Chiba prefecture have been practicing coastal whaling from time immemorial, while the Taiji situated in Wakanyama is known to hold dolphin hunts on an annual basis.

That being said, expeditions to the arctic for whales is a recent endeavor, only beginning after the end of World War Two that severely devastated the country, resulting in the hunting in the Antarctic to find whales as the country’s main source of meat.

Despite the meat still being sold in the country, it has recently gotten an unpopular following, with lesser businesses opting to take it up and sell it as compared to the past.

That being said, there are quite a number of countries that still whaling apart from Japan.


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