In the last six months, Japanese fisherfolk sold 52 Minke whales under the country's controversial scientific whaling programme. This sale was made possible by changing the previous law to suit the needs of the fisherfolk. The changed law now allows them to harvest any whale that gets trapped in their nets. Japan contends there is a plentiful stock of Minke whales in the world's oceans and it should be allowed to catch them.

Although Japan gave up commercial whaling in 1986, it has been carrying out scientific research whaling.