Japan back in whale hunt, says newspaper

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Reports from Japan suggest the government will increase its whaling budget to better protect crew members preparing for this year’s Antarctic hunt.

In recent years, Japan’s whaling fleet has been pursued by Sea Shepherd anti-whaling activists.

Last season the Sea Shepherd group restricted the Japanese catch.

This, added to calls for cuts to pay for the reconstruction in the tsunami devastated Japanese north-east, had led some in the government in Tokyo to contemplate winding down or scrapping the annual whaling hunt in the Antarctic.

But the Yomiuri newspaper is reporting that it will go ahead.

It said the government decided it would be against the national interest to give in to Sea Shepherd’s obstruction.

It is also being reported that about $US27 million will be injected into the program to improve safety for the whaling crews.