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Japan has said the IWC has become more like an opponent of whaling than an organization aiming for sustainability.
Suga said the commercial hunts would be limited to Japan's territorial waters and its 200-mile (323-kilometer) exclusive economic zone along Japan's coasts.
Japan is now conducting research whaling in the Northwestern Pacific and the Antarctic Ocean, but it must halt such activities in those waters once it withdraws from the IWC. A United Kingdom news report explains: It's been doing so for three decades under an exception to the IWC's ban on whale hunting.
Tokyo has repeatedly threatened to pull out of the body, and has been regularly criticised for catching hundreds of whales a year for "scientific research" despite being a signatory to a moratorium on hunting the animals.
Mr Lawry said he suspected Japan's decision was a way to "save face" and back out of whaling in the Southern Ocean.
"This is a grave mistake which is out of step with the rest of the world", said Sam Annesley, executive director at Greenpeace Japan. After Japan's request to adapt the ban fell on deaf ears at the IWC's meeting in September, Suga said, "it unveiled the fact that it is not possible in the IWC even to seek the coexistence of States with different views".
Greenpeace has criticised Japan’s decision
The Australian government, often a vocal critic of Japan's whaling policies, said in a statement that it was "extremely disappointed" with Japan's decision to quit the commission.
However, Australia and New Zealand welcomed Japan's withdrawal from the southern ocean.
Japanese Fisheries Agency official and longtime IWC negotiator Hideki Moronuki said Japan would use the IWC's method to carefully determine a catch quota, but declined to give an estimate.
"As there may be worldwide criticism, I expect (the government) to try to gain the understanding of anti-whaling nations", he said, adding he hopes whaling for commercial use will be carried out under appropriate resource management in a similar manner to when the country's so-called research whaling was conducted.
Astrid Fuchs, program manager for Whale and Dolphin Conservation told National Geographic Japan's decision could have global ramifications.
While this is a benefit for the Antarctic, it may simply be because the nation is no longer able to hunt on the high seas, where they were claiming to be conducting "scientific whaling" while still a member of the IWC.
Much of the meat ends up in shops, even though most Japanese no longer eat it. Whale consumption accounted for 0.1 percent of all Japanese meat consumption, according to the Asahi newspaper.
The decision, some experts said, allows Japan to save the money it spends to support Antarctic whaling while taking a tough pro-whaling stance - a matter of national pride for some conservatives.