After an 11-year hiatus, Japan's government announced earlier today [Wednesday] that it intends to resume imports of Norwegian minke whale meat in the next few months. The plan is in defiance of an international moratorium on commercial trade in whale products, and has elicited further criticism from conservationists already angered by Tokyo's announcement less than a week ago that its research whaling programme is to be expanded to include sei whales. Some environmental groups say the sei whales face extinction, but under a plan submitted to the International Whaling Commission (IWC), Japan's research fleet in the North Pacific will catch 50 this year, in addition to 150 minke whales, 50 Bryde's whales and ten sperm whales.