Big threat to Japan whaling: Declining appetites

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A shopper walks past a whale meat specialty store at Tokyo’s Ameyoko shopping district, Thursday, March 27, 2014. The greatest threat to Japan’s whaling industry may not be the environmentalists harassing its ships or the countries demanding its abolishment, but Japanese consumers. They’ve simply lost their appetite. The amount of whale meat stockpiled for lack of buyers has nearly doubled over 10 years, even as anti-whaling protests helped drive catches to record lows. More than 2,300 mink whales worth of meat is sitting in freezers while whalers still plan to catch another 1,300 whales per year. Uncertainty looms ahead of an International Court of Justice ruling expected Monday over a 2010 suit filed by Australia, which argues that Japan’s whaling – ostensibly for research – is a cover for commercial hunts. (AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi)

A shopper walks past a whale meat specialty store at Tokyo’s Ameyoko shopping district, Thursday, March 27, 2014. The greatest threat to Japan’s whaling industry may not be the environmentalists harassing its ships or the countries demanding its abolishment, but Japanese consumers. They’ve simply lost their appetite. The amount of whale meat stockpiled for lack of buyers has nearly doubled over 10 years, even as anti-whaling protests helped drive catches to record lows. More than 2,300 mink whales worth of meat is sitting in freezers while whalers still plan to catch another 1,300 whales per year. Uncertainty looms ahead of an International Court of Justice ruling expected Monday over a 2010 suit filed by Australia, which argues that Japan’s whaling – ostensibly for research – is a cover for commercial hunts. (AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi)

Packs of whale meat to be sold sit in a freezer at a whale meat specialty store at Tokyo’s Ameyoko shopping district, Thursday, March 27, 2014. The greatest threat to Japan’s whaling industry may not be the environmentalists harassing its ships or the countries demanding its abolishment, but Japanese consumers. They’ve simply lost their appetite. The amount of whale meat stockpiled for lack of buyers has nearly doubled over 10 years, even as anti-whaling protests helped drive catches to record lows. More than 2,300 mink whales worth of meat is sitting in freezers while whalers still plan to catch another 1,300 whales per year. Uncertainty looms ahead of an International Court of Justice ruling expected Monday over a 2010 suit filed by Australia, which argues that Japan’s whaling – ostensibly for research – is a cover for commercial hunts. (AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi)

Packs of whale meat to be sold hang at a whale meat specialty store at Tokyo’s Ameyoko shopping district, Thursday, March 27, 2014. The greatest threat to Japan’s whaling industry may not be the environmentalists harassing its ships or the countries demanding its abolishment, but Japanese consumers. They’ve simply lost their appetite. The amount of whale meat stockpiled for lack of buyers has nearly doubled over 10 years, even as anti-whaling protests helped drive catches to record lows. More than 2,300 mink whales worth of meat is sitting in freezers while whalers still plan to catch another 1,300 whales per year. Uncertainty looms ahead of an International Court of Justice ruling expected Monday over a 2010 suit filed by Australia, which argues that Japan’s whaling – ostensibly for research – is a cover for commercial hunts. (AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi)

FILE – In this Feb. 8, 2009 file photo released by Japan’s Institute of Cetacean Research workers measure a captured mink whale on the deck of Japanese whaling ship, the Nisshin Maru, as Sea Shepherd’s ship, the M/Y Steve Irwin, partly seen at left top, follows from behind in the Ross Sea, off Antarctica. The greatest threat to Japan’s whaling industry may not be the environmentalists harassing its ships or the countries demanding its abolishment, but Japanese consumers. The amount of whale meat stockpiled for lack of buyers has nearly doubled over 10 years, even as anti-whaling protests helped drive catches to record lows. More than 2,300 mink whales worth of meat is sitting in freezers while whalers still plan to catch another 1,300 whales per year. Uncertainty looms ahead of an International Court of Justice ruling expected Monday, March 27, 2014 over a 2010 suit filed by Australia, which argues that Japan’s whaling – ostensibly for research – is a cover for commercial hunts. (AP Photo/The Institute of Cetacean Research, File)

FILE – In this Jan. 5, 2014 file photo and released by Sea Shepherd Australia, three dead mink whales lie on the deck of the Japanese whaling vessel Nisshin Maru, in the Southern Ocean. The greatest threat to Japan’s whaling industry may not be the environmentalists harassing its ships or the countries demanding its abolishment, but Japanese consumers. The amount of whale meat stockpiled for lack of buyers has nearly doubled over 10 years, even as anti-whaling protests helped drive catches to record lows. More than 2,300 mink whales worth of meat is sitting in freezers while whalers still plan to catch another 1,300 whales per year. Uncertainty looms ahead of an International Court of Justice ruling expected Monday, March 27, 2014 over a 2010 suit filed by Australia, which argues that Japan’s whaling – ostensibly for research – is a cover for commercial hunts. (AP Photo/Sea Shepherd Australia, Tim Watters) NO SALES

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TOKYO (AP) — The greatest threat to Japan’s whaling industry may not be the environmentalists harassing its ships or the countries demanding its abolishment, but Japanese consumers. They’ve lost their appetite.

The amount of whale meat stockpiled for lack of buyers has nearly doubled over 10 years, even as anti-whaling protests helped drive catches to record lows. More than 2,300 minke whales worth of meat is sitting in freezers while whalers still plan to catch another 1,300 whales per year.

Low demand adds to the uncertainty that looms ahead of an International Court of Justice ruling expected Monday on Japan’s whaling in

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