Q: Why does Japan keep up the farce of so called “scientific” whaling? Why don’t they just say they want to kill whales and be done with it?A: Japan does indeed wish to resume commercial whaling, in accordance with the provisions of the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling (ICRW), and makes no secret of the fact.Put simply, Japan's research includes the objective to improve scientific understanding of whale stocks, which would facilitate higher catch limits (without increasing the risk of depleting the stock) than would otherwise be possible under the IWC's existing catch limit setting procedure.In more detail, some background information:This is where Japan’s research programmes come into the picture. One objective of the original JARPA research was "Estimation of biological parameters", uncertainty about which had been a subject of dispute in the IWC Scientific Commitee. Later a further objective to elucidate "stock structure of the Southern Hemisphere minke whales to improve stock management" was added.In 1997, the IWC Scientific Committee reviewed the original JARPA programme at its half-way point and confirmed that the JARPA programme did indeed have the potential to improve on the RMP procedure in a number of ways. Full details of the review are available here.Indeed the Japanese government's primary interest is in making for the acquisition of whale meat, but not only that, it is interested in making for higher catch limits through improved scientific understanding. These goals are entirely consistent with the ICRW text, which states that catch limits should be set in such a way as to "provide for the conservation, development, and optimum utilization of the whale resources", in addition to being "based on scientific findings" (Article V, para 2).