Hundreds Of Defiant Japanese Officials Feast On Whale Meat Buffet In Spite Of Whaling Ban

A little over two weeks after the UN's International Court of Justice ordered Japan to cease its controversial whaling program in the Southern Ocean, hundreds of defiant Japanese lawmakers and lobbyists met at a whale meat buffet to gorge themselves on the very animals the ruling was designed to protect.

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Despite the IJC's decision to ban the whale hunts, Japan's Forestry and Fisheries Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi, who was present at the event, urged his colleagues to continue the practice, calling it "a policy of harvesting and sustainably using the protein source from the ocean."

Officially, Japan's whale hunts had been carried out under the pretext of "scientific research" as a means of skirting the decades-old international moratorium on commercial whaling. Anti-whaling groups have long been dubious of this claim, saying that the roughly 800 whales caught each season were being killed for human consumption.

Although the ICJ's decision was met with "deep disappointment" among Japanese leaders, officials announced that the whale hunt planned for later this year would be canceled -- though documents show that whalers intend to resume the deadly activity in 2015.