Japanese media is reporting that the country's fisheries minister is considering scaling back its so-called research whaling in the Antarctic.

In exchange, the Japanese want a resumption of commercial whaling in Japanese waters.

Japan's Asahi Shimbun newspaper is reporting that fisheries minister Hirotaka Akamatsu will outline his proposal at the meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) in Morocco in June.

The plan to scale back Antarctic whaling in exchange for the resumption of commercial hunts of Minke whales off Japan's coast represents a major shift in policy.

Japan is reportedly already discussing the proposal with anti-whaling nations such as the United States and pro-whaling countries such as Norway.

The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society rejects such a compromise and will continue to oppose any whaling activities in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.

"All whaling must cease in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary," said Captain Paul Watson. "This is a whale Sanctuary. What is it about the word Sanctuary that Japan does not understand?  The Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary is an established Sanctuary under International Agreement. Unless the designation is revoked, the protection of the Sanctuary under international conservation law will be a major priority for Sea Shepherd."

Allowing Japan to kill whales in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary is like allowing bank robbers to rob a bank if they agree to take less money than they wanted to take in the first place.

Commercial whaling is also prohibited by the Antarctic Treaty. The killing of endangered Fin and Humpback whales are also prohibited under International Conservation Law.

"What Japan is requesting is permission to legally kill whales in their own waters in return for reducing their kills in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary," said Captain Watson. "This is unacceptable. The quota for the Sanctuary must be zero."

Sea Shepherd
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