Currently, Japan is working it's annual coastal whaling season. Much like the Antarctic Whaling Season, the Japanese set out to kill a set number of whales. Normally the Japanese target specific species, but it appears this year that that may not be the case. Just a few days ago this image surfaced on the internet from Japan.
What this is an image of is a rare beaked whale being dragged onto a dock to be processed. You can see a spear sill in the head of the whale that had to fight for a long time before dying. The purpose of this kill was just like every other kill Japan makes, profit. Beaked whales are incredibly rare. The conservation status of these whales is largely unknown and conservation dependent. Only a few species of beaked whales has been identified, but there are more out there that scientists have not seen enough of to describe.
Besides the fact that the vast majority of the world opposes Japan's Whaling Operations, beaked whales have another reason that they should not be killed. Unlike the baleen whales, beaked whales have sharp teeth. As you might expect, these whales tend to eat fish and squid. Some of these fish are towards the top of the food chain and as with sharks, this causes toxins to build up inside the whale, causing the animal to become virtually toxic for human consumption.
Commercial Whaling in general is internationally banned by the International Whaling Commission (IWC). Japan manages to get around the ban by claiming they are killing whales for scientific research. The IWC allows whales to be killed for research and the meat can be sold. The big issue with Japan is that they are not doing any research. They kill the whale, bring it onto the mothership, process it, and then sell the meat. The organs and other undesirable parts are usually just tossed back into the sea. So Japan continues to exploit the "Research" loophole despite not turning out any kind of research for many years now. Japan will continue it's coastal whaling program until they begin their Antarctic Whaling Campaign in December. It is here that once again, the conservation group Sea Shepherd Conservation Society will intercept the whalers and expose the truth. Sadly though no nation has stood up to the Japanese at the IWC and Japan continues to pressure, bully, and bribe smaller nations to vote their way, causing a lot of nothing to come of the annual IWC meetings.
It's the year 2012, there are warehouses with whale meat from years ago still waiting to be sold. It's more than obvious that the vast majority of Japanese people do not eat whale, yet the Japanese Government continues to allow the Whaling Industry to continue their dying tradition to try and scrape a few more dollars into the country. The issue with this is that the last 2 years, Japan has actually lost a great sum of money by sending its ships down to Antarctica only to return with less that 50% of their quota. So it makes even less sense for Japan to continue whaling. It's 2012, commercial whaling has no place in the world!