In March, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) found that Japan’s Southern Ocean efforts in the Antarctic whale hunt were illegal under international law. It was ruled that no further permits should be issued under Japan’s scientific whaling program, saying that the campaign produced little actual research. The ruling also urged Japan to re-examine the program.
The minke whales were caught off Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture as part of the country's annual northwestern Pacific hunt – which takes place form April to June – according to Japan's Fisheries Agency. A second group of whalers is still at work.