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Overview and Purpose


The Institute of Cetacean Research (I.C.R.), a unique organization in Japan specializing in the biological and social sciences related to whales, came into being in October 1987. It is a nonprofit research organization whose legal status is authorized by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Government of Japan, as a foundational judicial person.

The forerunner of the I.C.R., the Whales Research Institute, founded in 1947, was developed from the Nakabe Foundation for Whale Science, which was established in 1941.


Problems surrounding Japanese fisheries have become increasingly complex in recent years in relation to the conservation and management of marine mammals, as exemplified by the IWC's adoption of a moratorium on all commercial whaling in 1982 and the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary in 1994, as well as by the tightening of regulatory measures on driftnet and other fishery technology.

More restrictive measures are expected to be imposed internationally upon fisheries, including high-seas fisheries. Japan will have to respond appropriately to solve future problems in order to contribute to the proper conservation, management, and rational utilization of marine resources.

Thus far, independent entities such as national laboratories, universities, voluntary research institutions, and individual- researchers have been studying whales and other marine mammals. These studies, however, are closely related and must be better coordinated to contribute to the solutions required at the national and international levels,making it possible for Japan to take a more active role in international organizations.

The I.C.R. is dedicated to a wide range of cetacean research and is expected to function as a center of research efforts made by independent researchers such as those described above.

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