This is despite an International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruling that Japan cease all whaling.
The Jap.govt says it's "taken into account" the court ruling and its whaling programme this time will be much smaller. But the announcement has been condemned by environmental groups and the Oz and UK govts.
|Minke whale breaching|
In 2014, Australia and NZ won a case against Japan in the ICJ in the Netherlands. The court ruled that Japan's 'scientific' whaling programme was not scientific at all - and ordered Tokyo to recall its fleet. Crucially, the ruling stated that it did not believe it was necessary for Japan to kill whales, in order to study them.
...meanwhile, in a landmark ruling, the Oz Federal Court has found Japanese whalers to be in contempt of court and fined them AUS $1 million for killing minkes in the Sthrn.Ocean's Australian Whale Sanctuary, in violation of a 2008 injunction.
The Australian court ruling finds the whalers in "willful contempt" of a 2008 injunction, banning them from killing, injuring, taking or interfering with any Antarctic minke, fin or humpback whale in the Australian Whale Sanctuary. The sanctuary was established in 1999 to protect whales within 200nm of the Australian continent and of portions of Antarctica over which Australia asserts sovereignty.
Sadly, there's a snowball's chance in hell of seeing that fine paid!
...the nasty Nippons are also facing claims filed by environmentalists Sea Shepherd, asking a US court to find that Japan's Sthrn.Ocean whaling programme violates international law, and to impose an injunction to prevent it from continuing.