Report: Japan to drop humpback whale hunt

Japan is dropping its plan to kill humpback whales in the seas off Antarctica, a media report said Friday. Japan has decided to suspend humpback whaling while talks to reform the International Whaling Commission are under way, Kyodo News agency quoted Chief Cabinet Secretary Nobutaka Machimura as saying. Tokyo will maintain its other research whaling activities in the meantime, Machimura added, according to Kyodo. Japan dispatched its whaling fleet last month to the southern Pacific in the first major hunt of humpback whales since the 1960s, generating widespread criticism. Commercial hunts of humpbacks have been banned worldwide since 1966.