MORE CALLS FOR HALT TO JAPANESE WHALING IN PACIFIC

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TOKYO, Japan (August 21, 2000 – BBC)---Representatives from fifteen countries have asked Japan to halt its controversial whaling program.

The Japanese news agency Kyodo says the delegation asked the Japanese to stop whaling in the northern Pacific and in the Southern Ocean sanctuary, in line with resolutions agreed by the International Whaling Commission.

Last month Japan sent out ships to the northwestern Pacific to hunt Minkes, Brydes and sperm whales. Japanese whalers were expected to kill around 220 animals.

Correspondents say most of the meat and blubber will be sold commercially.

The United States has already urged the Japanese government to abandon the hunt.

The Japanese fisheries agency has said the catch would enable them to collect data on the whales' habitats and their migration patterns.

Environmental groups say the real purpose is to expand commercial whaling.

For additional reports from the BBC, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Radio/TV News/BBC News: Asia-Pacific.

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