According to Al Jazeera last Friday:
Japan's whaling fleet is preparing to leave port to commence its annual hunt in the waters off Antarctica.
Fisheries officials say they plan to kill more than 900 minke whales and 50 fin whales, despite protests from environmental groups and slumping Japanese demand for whale meat.
The ships are expected to set sail in the coming days, although officials said that for safety reasons no exact date is being made public.
The fleet failed to reach its target catch in last season's hunt, partly due to a series of protests and disruptions by animal rights activists.
Japanese media had earlier reported that the target catch for this season's hunt would be cut back in an effort to avoid protests, but fisheries officials say no such cut is planned.
Greenpeace said that, even if the catch remained the same, cracks were starting to appear in the annual campaign.
Spokeswoman Sara Holden said Japan's whaling industry was troubled by the announcement that a high-profile whale meat shop in Tokyo would close in 2010 because of financial problems.
And for the first time, the fleet would not be 100 per cent Japanese-crewed because of resignations of former crewman.
"We are seeing the beginning of the end of whaling in the Southern Ocean whale sanctuary," she said. "The whaling industry's days are numbered."
However Japan's Institute for Cetacean Research continues taking a hard line on its right to an annual whale kill and little if anything has changed in relation to this year's hunt.
It's time to begin this year's round of letters and emails to the Government of Japan.
Details for the various Japanese cabinet ministers are here.
- Cabinet Office, Government of Japan1-6-1 Nagata-cho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8914, Japan. Tel: +81-3-5253-2111
- Cabinet Secretariat, Cabinet Public Relations Office,1-6-1 Nagata-cho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100 - 8968, Japan
112 Empire Circuit, Yarralumla ACT 2600, Australia
(02) 6273 3244
(02) 6273 1848