Each year, Japanese whalers haul hundreds of harpooned whales aboard their giant 8,145-ton vessel, the Nisshin Maru. And for decades, they’ve killed most of these whales in the open Antarctic seas, under the guise of performing scientific “research.”

But now Japan is changing course, in a curious way.

On Wednesday Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga announced that the nation will retreat from killing whales in the Antarctic waters. Instead, the Japanese have dropped

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