Reuters

Whaling and Japan

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Grade school students and residents watch a carved Baird's Beaked whale at Wada port in Minamiboso, southeast of Tokyo June 26, 2014. To mark the start of Japan's whaling season, workers in the coastal town of Minamiboso carved up one of the animals as a crowd of grade school students and residents watched, with free samples of its fried meat handed out later. The annual event took place in the district of Wada in the town south...

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A worker sprays water on a Baird's Beaked whale before butchering it, as shadows of a crowd of grade school students and residents are cast on the ground, at Wada port in Minamiboso, southeast of Tokyo, June 26, 2014. Though environmentalists condemn whaling, Japan maintains it is an important part of its food heritage. Wada is proud of its centuries-old traditions and takes pains to teach such local culture and history to its...

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Grade school students watch a carved Baird's Beaked whale at Wada port in Minamiboso, southeast of Tokyo June 26, 2014. Thirty-eight fifth year students from the town's primary school murmured and gasped as workers used ropes and a pulley to drag up a concrete ramp a nine-meter-long whale killed the previous night. REUTERS/Issei Kato

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Workers carve into a Baird's Beaked whale at Wada port in Minamiboso, southeast of Tokyo June 26, 2014. In Wada, souvenir shops, restaurants, supermarkets and whale specialty stores line the streets, selling whale meat products and dishing up everything from whale sushi to fried whale. REUTERS/Issei Kato

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Grade school students and residents look at the head of a carved Baird's Beaked whale at Wada port in Minamiboso, southeast of Tokyo June 26, 2014. REUTERS/Issei Kato

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Workers carve into a Baird's Beaked whale as grade school students and residents look on, at Wada port in Minamiboso, southeast of Tokyo June 26, 2014. REUTERS/Issei Kato

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A protester holds a packet of whale meat during a rally in support of whaling, in front of the Australian embassy in Tokyo February 23, 2010. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

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Workers butcher a 11-ton Baird's Beaked Whale at Wada Port in Chiba Prefecture, Japan June 21, 2007. REUTERS/Olivier Fabre

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Activists on a rubber dinghy belonging to Sea Shepherd throw a rope onto the bow of the Japanese whaling ship Yushin Maru in the Southern Ocean in this handout photo taken by the Institute of Cetacean Research on February 23, 2014. REUTERS/Institute of Cetacean Research/Handout via Reuters

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Workers butcher a Baird's Beaked whale at Wada port in Minamiboso, southeast of Tokyo, June 28, 2008. REUTERS/Toru Hanai

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Workers butcher a Baird's Beaked whale at Wada port in Minamiboso, southeast of Tokyo, June 28, 2008. REUTERS/Toru Hanai

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A damaged fish oil tank painted to resemble a can of whale meat is seen through a broken window in Ishinomaki, Miyagi prefecture, Japan March 9, 2012, ahead of the one-year anniversary of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. REUTERS/Toru Hanai

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Whale sashimi is prepared at a Japanese whale meat restaurant named 'Hogeisen', meaning whaling ship, in Tokyo January 16, 2008. REUTERS/Yuriko Nakao

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Yoko Ichihara eats a whaleburger in front of a poster of cetaceans at a whale meat restaurant in Wada, a coastal whaling town, southeast of Tokyo February 9, 2007. REUTERS/Toru Hanai

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A wholesaler examines whale meat with a customer at the Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo December 12, 2006. REUTERS/Kiyoshi Ota

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A piece of sliced raw whale meat is pictured in a restaurant in Japan's oldest whaling village of Taiji, 260 miles southwest of Tokyo June 2, 2008. REUTERS/Issei Kato

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Environmental activists perform with a mock whale at a protest denouncing Japan's whaling in front of the Japanese embassy in Seoul May 29, 2007. REUTERS/Lee Jae-Won

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Workers butcher a Baird's beaked whale at Wada port in Minamiboso, southeast of Tokyo, June 28, 2008. REUTERS/Toru Hanai

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The 24-metre-long (78 ft), 16-tonne stealth boat Ady Gil is moored at a dock in the Tasmanian capital city Hobart December 3, 2009. Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is using the carbon-fiber trimaran, a small, space-age-like vessel, to scare off whaling fleets from Antarctic waters, with a ghostly tune as its main weapon. REUTERS/Pauline Askin

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Japan's whaling vessel Shonan Maru 2, carrying anti-whaling New Zealander activist Pete Bethune of the hardline Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, approaches a pier at Tokyo bay March 12, 2010. REUTERS/Issei Kato

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