Canberra: The Australian government has urged Japan to reconsider its plan to resume whaling for commercial purposes.
Reports emerged on Thursday that Japan was preparing to withdraw from the International Whaling Commission (IWC) so as to restart whaling, Xinhua news agency reported.
Addressing the reports, Australian Environment Minister Melissa Price said while the government would 'strongly prefer' that Japan remains a party to the IWC, the decision was 'a matter for Japan'.
"Australia remains committed to the IWC and acknowledges its crucial role as the pre-eminent international body responsible for the conservation of whales and the management of whaling," Price said.
"We will continue to work through the Commission to conserve whales, and remain opposed to all forms of commercial and so-called 'scientific' whaling."
The IWC in September denied Japan's request to resume commercial whaling.
Japan has continued to carry out whaling for research purposes but has argued that global populations have recovered to the point where the ban on commercial whaling should be lifted.