Inside Story

Why is Japan killing whales?

Japan has resumed commercial whaling in its waters despite global outrage.

Whales were hunted to the brink of extinction until 1986, at which point a group of countries agreed to temporarily stop whaling for profit. 

It turned into an international semi-ban.

But conservationists are now worried the species might be under threat again. Many countries had continued to hunt whales for “scientific” purposes all along, including Japan.

Recently, Japan announced the resumption of commercial whaling in its waters.

But is it commercially sustainable? And why is whaling so important for Japan?


Presenter: Peter Dobbie


Ken Collins – senior research fellow in ocean and earth science in the Faculty of Environmental and Life Sciences at the University of Southampton

Michael Penn – president of Japan’s Shingetsu news agency

Mark Simmonds – senior marine expert at Humane Society International