Japanese fleet returns with 333 whales from Antarctic hunt

Japan's whaling fleet has returned home after killing 333 whales in the Antarctic, achieving its goal for the second year under a revised research whaling program.

The Fisheries Agency said Friday that the five-ship fleet finished its four-month expedition.

Japan says the hunt was for ecological research. Research whaling is allowed as an exception to a 1986 international ban on commercial whaling. Opponents of the Japanese program say it's a cover for commercial whaling because the whales are sold.

The International Court of Justice ruled in 2014 that Japan's Antarctic whaling program should stop because it wasn't scientific as Tokyo had claimed. Japan conducted non-lethal whaling research in the Antarctic in 2015, and revised its program in 2016 by reducing the catch quota.