Japan has cancelled its annual Antarctic whaling hunt for the first time in more than a quarter of a century, in line with a UN court ruling that the program was a commercial activity disguised as science.
Australia, backed by New Zealand, hauled Japan before the ICJ in 2010 in a bid to end the annual Southern Ocean hunt.
Tokyo has used a legal loophole in the 1986 ban on commercial whaling that allowed it to continue slaughtering the mammals, ostensibly so it could gather scientific data.
However, it has never made a secret of the fact that the whale meat from these hunts can end up on dining tables.
Public consumption of whale meat in Japan has steadily fallen in recent years.
Japan had argued that its JARPA II research program was aimed at studying the viability of whale hunting, but the ICJ found it had failed to examine ways of doing the research without killing whales, or at least while killing fewer of them.