After taking evidence on all options the Fisheries Agency of Japan‘s special review committee on whaling is considering a national ban, says the Japanese newspaper Yomiuri Shimbun.
According to that paper, a majority of committee members continue to support whaling for research purposes but, for the first time ever, a minority of the delegates acknowledged that after 25 years, Japan had failed to gain international support for the research, and proposed that whaling be scaled down or halted.
This news comes from the same review committee which was formed in April following a season in which, citing harassment by Sea Shepherd, the fleet returned home having caught just 170 of its intended 945 whales.
Further, the Austrailian newspaper The Age, reports:
At the recent International Whaling Commission meeting in Jersey, Britain, Japan’s commissioner Kenji Kagawa said the government made the difficult decision to recall the whaling fleet part way through its season last February to protect human lives.
“But I would like to stress that our decision does not indicate any change in Japan’s whaling policy,” Mr Kagawa said.
However, the Fisheries Agency that supervises the fleet has been unable to obtain support for the ships from the Japan Coast Guard.
If the fleet is to return, it must find a way to secure ships and whalers against harassment by Sea Shepherd.
Yomiuri said the review’s majority stated: “Research whaling is justified on the basis of an international treaty. It should be continued without yielding to heinous interference.”
The minority said: “If we cannot gain understanding on the research whaling in the international community, we should scale it down or halt it.”
No news has been reported on the official government reaction to the committee’s report.