Photo/IllutrationCrew members measure a minke whale caught during research whaling. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

Japan plans to leave the International Whaling Commission to resume commercial whaling for the first time in 30 years, sources said.

The drastic step is expected to prompt criticism from not only foreign nations but also from within Japan.

Government officials will inform executives of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party and junior coalition partner Komeito of the decision, they said.

A formal announcement is expected within days.

The decision was apparently made because a majority of nations oppose whaling, and Japan has found it impossible to resume commercial whaling as a member of the IWC.

The IWC decided on a moratorium on commercial whaling in 1982.

In 1987, Japan shifted to what it described as “research whaling.” Tokyo has subsequently argued that its research showed that the population of some whale species had recovered to sustainable levels and asked for a resumption of commercial whaling.

But the IWC has continued to invoke the moratorium.