Fishermen in Japan have brought back their first whale in 31 years after commercial whaling was allowed in the country following a hiatus that lasted for 31 years.
Five boats from whaling communities left port in Kushiro with their horns blaring and their harpoons ready.
The first whale has been caught by Monday afternoon, and it was immediately transported back to shore.
The whale-hunting comes after Japan decided to withdraw from the International Whaling Commission, a move that was welcomed by Japanese whaling communities.
The photos that were taken in Kushiro this morning are truly shocking:
Head of the Japan Small-Type Whaling Association Yoshifumi Kai said that his heart is overflowing with happiness, and he’s deeply moved.
He addressed a crowd of politicians and locals in Kushiro before the boats left, and said that he’s proud of hunting whales, as people in his home town have hunted whales for more than 400 years.
Young whalers said that they’re excited to go whale hunting, and even though young people don’t even know how to cook and eat whale meat anymore, they would be happy to try it.
Tokyo says that whaling is a Japanese tradition that should not be subject to international interference, and that’s why the country left IWC.
The country used to exploit a loophole in the body’s rules to carry out highly controversial hunts of whales in protected waters under the banner of “scientific research”, even though activists have warned that the hunts have absolutely no scientific value.
Japan also made no secret of the fact that the meat from whales caught on those hunts ended up being sold for consumption.