Japan has admitted surprise at the decision of Norway to contravene the ban on the international trade in whale meat, and resume the commercial slaughter of minke whales.

“First we would like to discuss the various problems with the Norwegian government,” revealed the vice-minister of Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Hideaki Kumazawa.

Japan has not imported whale products since 1991, when decimated whale populations and animal activist pressure forced a global re-evaluation of whaling practice, and a ban on the international whale trade. Nevertheless, Norway expects Japan to become its main market.

Aside from fears of international condemnation, it may be that Japan is also concerned by the results of a 1998 study by Norwegian scientists, which showed that the flesh of North Sea minke whales is highly contaminated with toxic organochlorine.

Yesterday just-food.com published a news article entititled “Government defies global moratorium and grants whalers export licenses”, to read it click here.