Photo: Koichi Kamoshida/Getty Images.
Japan announced Wednesday that it will be leaving the International Whale Commission so that it can resume commercial whale hunting for the first time in 30 years, the AP reports.
The big picture: Previously, Japan had conducted whale hunting in the Southern Ocean as part of what it claimed was a research program, but environmentalists and officials from other nations criticized it as an illegitimate commercial hunt. Now the country's withdrawing from the IWC entirely. Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, who said the organization is run by conservationists, said whale stocks have recovered enough to resume commercial hunts. Suga said commercial whaling will resume in July in Japanese territorial waters and economic zones only, leaving the controversial Antarctic waters alone.