A Japanese fishery official said on Tuesday that Tokyo will not yield to foreign pressure seeking to stop it from whaling, arguing that it is done for scientific research.
In Japan, whale meat is part of the traditional cuisine, but in 1986 it accepted a moratorium on commercial whaling by the International Whaling Commission (IWC).
It resumed "research whaling" in 1987, the whale meat from which is sold on the market.
Tokyo will reportedly tell the IWC that it intends to nearly double its annual catch of minke whales in the Antarctic Ocean.
Japan says whaling provides research on whales' ages, eating habits and other details, saying the species involved such as minkes are thriving and consuming valuable fish stock.
Australian Prime Minister John Howard wrote to his counterpart Junichiro Koizumi earlier on Tuesday asking him to scrap reported plans to hunt species that are considered endangered.
(CRI May 26, 2005)