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However, in March 2014 the UN's International Court of Justice ruled that the Japanese whaling program, called "JARPA II", in the Southern Ocean, including inside the Australian Whale Sanctuary, was not in accordance with the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling, and was not for scientific purposes, as it had claimed.

In December 2015, Japan went ahead with their whaling program, renamed "NEWREP-A".

Japan maintains that annual whaling is sustainable and necessary for scientific study and management of whale stocks, though the Antarctic minke whale populations have declined since the beginning of the JARPA program Archeological evidence in the form of whale remains discovered in burial mounds suggests that whales have been consumed in Japan since the Jōmon period (between c. Without the means to engage in active whaling, consumption at that time primarily stemmed from stranded whales.Techniques were developed in the 17th century in Taiji, Wakayama.On January 15, 2017, a helicopter in the Australian Whale Sanctuary photographed the Japanese whaling vessel Nisshin Maru with a freshly-killed minke whale on its deck.Antarctic minke whale have experienced an apparent decline in population, though the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) indicates that it lacks sufficient data to confer a "threatened" designation on the species of minke whale.The incident effectively marked the end of traditional Japanese whaling practice.

Norwegian-style modern whaling, based on the use of power-driven vessels, cannons and exploding harpoons, was introduced in the Meiji period largely through the efforts of Jūrō Oka who is considered the "father of modern Japanese whaling".

His grandson, Wada Kakuemon Yoriharu, later known as Taiji Kakuemon Yoriharu, invented the whaling net technique called amitori-shiki (網取り式).

Instead of trying to harpoon whales in open water, now twenty or more boats would encircle a whale and make a racket, driving it towards the shallows into nets wielded by a second group of six boats.

K.) returned significant profits to its investors which led to increased Japanese competition.

Oka later became the first president of the Japan Whaling and Fishing Association, established in 1908.

enforcement of the Shorui-Awaremi-no-rei (ordinances of animal protection) excluded whales due to being perceived locally as fish, despite the fulfillment of terms of protection for having "mammalian natures", and that a paper regarding whales as mammals was published in Kyoto in 1758.