Japan to resume 'investigative whaling' as soon as possible

Updated: 2008-01-18 22:52

Tokyo -- Japanese Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Masatoshi Wakabayashi said Friday that Japan is to resume as soon as possible its "investigative whaling" activities which were interrupted by environmentalists.

Japan is happy to see the release of the detained environmentalists before the issue leads to escalation of tension between Japan and Australia, Wakabayashi told reporters at a press conference.

The environmentalists' disturbing action was regrettable and Japan will reinforce its stand to the international community that its whaling activities are proper, the minister said.

Two Australian anti-whaling activists were captured and detained on board the Yushin Maru No. 2, which was in its whaling mission in waters around the Antarctica, on Tuesday when handing a letter of protest to Japanese whalers.

The two were released Friday morning.

Japan's whaling activities have been the target of fierce condemnation from countries such as Australia and New Zealand. Japan has for long been claiming that its whaling program is for scientific purpose and the world whale populations could afford a limited catch.

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