Lower house committee urges gov't to continue whaling

Japan's lower house committee on fisheries urged the government Wednesday to continue its whaling program despite a U.N. court last month ordering Tokyo to halt whaling in the Antarctic Sea.

The House of Representatives Committee on Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries adopted a resolution calling on the government to draw up a new whaling program so it can win acceptance as "rational."

It also seeks necessary diplomatic steps to be taken so Tokyo will never be brought again to the International Court of Justice by any anti-whaling country.

The resolution also said the government should consider "every possible option" to preserve the "tradition" of whaling, while calling for continued supply of whale meat to the local market.

Japan has decided to halt what it calls "research whaling" under its current program, abiding by a March 31 ICJ judgment in a case filed by Australia that the country's whaling in the Antarctic violated a 1986 moratorium on commercial whaling.

The government is now considering whether it will continue whaling in the Pacific Ocean this year, officials have said.