Since 2002, Sea Shepherd has opposed Japanese whaling operations in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary with expeditions to Antarctic waters first in 2002 followed by continuous campaigns from 2005 until 2017. But Fuchs said that the population of minke whales near Japan is already threatened, and Sam Annesley, the executive director at Greenpeace Japan, raised concerns about the commercial whaling of sei whales, among others.
Australian Sen. Richard Di Natale, leader of the Australian Greens party, referred to whaling a "barbaric slaughter".
Japan's announcement had been widely expected and comes after Japan failed in a bid earlier this year to convince the IWC to allow it to resume commercial whaling. This will be the previous year of Japanese whaling activities in the Southern Ocean, ' he said.
The statement reaffirmed Australia's opposition to all forms of whaling and its pledge to work with the commission to see that the global moratorium is observed. However, activist groups slammed the decision, with Greenpeace calling it a "sneaky" announcement.
Japanese officials have said the whaling organisation is supposed to pursue sustainability but has become an anti-whaling body. "With your help, we can continue to support a better informed local community and a healthier democracy for another 30 years".
Mr Suga said the IWC has been overlooked by conservationists and Japan was frustrated over its attempts to manage whale capitals even though the IWC has a treaty mandate for both whale conservation and development of the whaling industry.
As a result, Japan will cease taking whales from the Antarctic Ocean and Southern Hemisphere - where it has been killing whales ostensibly for scientific research - and will conduct commercial whaling "within Japan's territorial sea and its exclusive economic zone", he said.
"In its long history, Japan has used whales not only as a source of protein but also for a variety of other purposes", the statement said.
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An adult and sub-adult Minke whale are dragged on to a Japanese whaling vessel called the Nisshin Maruthat, which was the world's only factory whaling ship in 2008.
"Regrettably, we have reached a decision that it is impossible in the IWC to seek the coexistence of states with different views", he said at a news conference. Tokyo has made similar threats before, but the Japanese delegation to the IWC hinted at the forthcoming withdrawal in the strongest language yet at the closing in September of the IWC's formal meeting in Brazil (Greenwire, Sept. 14).
Tokyo maintains most whale species are not endangered, and eating whale meat is part of its culture.
As the gap between pro-whaling and anti-whaling nations widened with that loss, it was expected Japan would leave the IWC.
"I doubt if a withdrawal improves the current situation", he told NHK.
Japan used to annually consume around 233,000 tonnes of whale meat in the 60s amid food shortages after World War II, but more recently it's been closer to around 5,000 tonnes - a fraction of what it used to be.
But critics say they doubt if a country with an ageing and shrinking population can develop a sustainable whaling industry if it returns to commercial hunts. It is now one of the ports for so-called research whaling.
That argument was rejected in 2014 by the International Court of Justice, which ruled that Japan's Antarctic hunt had no scientific basis.