World

Japan's 'scientific whaling' under scrutiny at International Whaling Commission conference

In this Sept. 11, 2014 photo, chef of the Japanese restaurant "COM FOR TABLE" slices whale meat for a dish in in Tokyo. Whale meat continues to be one of the favorite dishes in this restaurant, but restaurant manager concerns about the future of its supply. At the International Whaling Commission meeting in Slovenia which opens Monday, Sept. 15, 2014, Japan is expected to seek international support for its plans to hunt minke whales in the Antarctic Ocean next year by scaling down the whaling research program the U.N. top court rejected earlier this year. The restaurant manager is hoping that supply will continue to sustain the demand for whale meat which has been a staple for the Japanese for such a long time. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

In this Sept. 11, 2014 photo, chef of the Japanese restaurant "COM FOR TABLE" slices whale meat for a dish in in Tokyo. Whale meat continues to be one of the favorite dishes in this restaurant, but restaurant manager concerns about the future of its supply. At the International Whaling Commission meeting in Slovenia which opens Monday, Sept. 15, 2014, Japan is expected to seek international support for its plans to hunt minke whales in the Antarctic Ocean next year by scaling down the whaling research program the U.N. top court rejected earlier this year. The restaurant manager is hoping that supply will continue to sustain the demand for whale meat which has been a staple for the Japanese for such a long time. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)  (The Associated Press)

Pro- and anti-whaling countries are set to clash over Japan's intention to resume the hunting in the Antarctic next year despite a ruling by the top U.N. court.

Japan's controversial plans will lead the agenda at the International Whaling Commission four-day meeting that started Monday in the Slovenian Adriatic Sea resort of Portoroz.

Whaling for research purposes is exempt from the 1986 international ban on commercial whaling and Japan says it will conduct additional hunts on that basis. But in March, the International Court of Justice ruled Japan's program wasn't scientific and must stop.

Approval from the IWC isn't mandatory, but any attempt by Japan to resume whaling in the Antarctic after a one-year pause would likely face intense scrutiny over whether it complies with the court ruling.