TOKYO, Feb. 3 (UPI) -- A proposal to end Japan's "scientific" whaling while allowing four communities to take a limited catch off the coast appears to have little support.
Neither Japanese nor Australian officials backed the plan drawn up by William Hogarth, chairman of the International Whaling Commission, and Alvarez de Soto, head of a task force on the commission's future, The Australian reports.
"We cannot accept a proposal that would end our research whaling program," Fisheries Minister Shigeru Ishiba told reporters Tuesday.
The Japanese quota, set unilaterally, for its take in the Antarctic Ocean this year is 850 minke whales and 50 fin whales.
Hogarth, from the United States, is trying to draw up a plan acceptable both to whaling countries like Japan, Iceland and Norway, and to "conservation" countries like Australia. The 84 member nations are to consider the proposal in June.
Under the plan, Japan would phase out its Antarctic whaling over five years. Four traditional whaling communities in Japan would be granted a limited catch of minke whales.