Japan resumes commercial whaling for the first time in 30 years
Five vessels, their harpoons concealed beneath tarpaulins, left Kushiro in northern Japan on Monday morning. At around the same time, three whaling boats left Shimonoseki in south-western Japan.
The first whales were brought ashore hours later: two grey minke whales. One of the animals, more than eight metres long, was hoisted from a ship onto a truck and driven to a warehouse where whalers lined up to pour ceremonial cups of sake over its body – a ritual to purify and celebrate the catch.
“Today is the best day,” said Yoshifumi Kai, head of the Japan Small-Type Whaling Association. “It was worth waiting for 31 years.”