Japan maintains that annual whaling is sustainable and necessary for scientific study and management of whale stocks, though the Antarctic minke whale populations have declined since the beginning of the JARPA program Archeological evidence in the form of whale remains discovered in burial mounds suggests that whales have been consumed in Japan since the Jōmon period (between c. Without the means to engage in active whaling, consumption at that time primarily stemmed from stranded whales.Techniques were developed in the 17th century in Taiji, Wakayama.Japan continued to hunt whales using the scientific research provision in the agreement, and Japanese whaling is currently conducted by the Institute of Cetacean Research.This was allowed under IWC rules, although most IWC members oppose it.However, in March 2014 the UN's International Court of Justice ruled that the Japanese whaling program, called "JARPA II", in the Southern Ocean, including inside the Australian Whale Sanctuary, was not in accordance with the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling, and was not for scientific purposes, as it had claimed.In December 2015, Japan went ahead with their whaling program, renamed "NEWREP-A".Blue whales, sei, Bryde's and sperm whales were however also taken when possible.
As a precept, Buddhists and other concerned people created folklore tales about whaling communities and those who practiced whaling on an industrial scales met tragic downfalls by supernatural phenomenon such as phantoms and the curses of whales.
The incident effectively marked the end of traditional Japanese whaling practice.
Norwegian-style modern whaling, based on the use of power-driven vessels, cannons and exploding harpoons, was introduced in the Meiji period largely through the efforts of Jūrō Oka who is considered the "father of modern Japanese whaling".
These hunts are a source of conflict between pro- and anti-whaling countries and organizations.
The UN's International Court of Justice, in addition to other countries, scientists, and environmental organizations consider the Japanese research program to be unnecessary and lacking scientific merit, and describe it as a thinly disguised commercial whaling operation.
There harpooners would approach in four boats of their own.