Friday, December 21, 2007


Agence France-Presse:
Japan said Friday it was dropping plans to start hunting humpback whales for the first time in four decades after protests led by Australia seeking to spare the popular mammals.

It is the first time that Japan has backed down over one of its whaling expeditions, which have been a longstanding strain in its relations with its Western allies.

It also marks a coup for Australia's new left-leaning Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, who has stepped up the pressure on Japan since taking office this month, including ordering a patrol ship and planes to track the whalers.

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