Japan announces its leave from International Whaling Commission

Japan announced last month that it's leaving the International Whaling Commission to resume commercial whaling for the first time in 30 years. The Associated Press reports Chairman of the Alaska Eskimo Whaling commission John Hopson Jr. as saying in a statement, "It would be in our best interest to have Japan remain with the IWC. They were a strong ally of ours in obtaining our quota."

The concern is that if other countries follow Japan's lead in leaving the commission, it could challenge the renewal of Alaska natives' subsistence lifestyle. The international commission sets the quota for subsistence whaling in Alaska. Following the commercial whaling ban, Japan switched to what it calls "Research Whaling."

Japan now plans to end the international commission, but intends to allow commercial hunts in its territorial waters and its 200 mile exclusive economic zone along its coast.