Chunks of meat from the first whales caught since Japan resumed commercial whaling this week have fetched "celebration prices" at auction.

The meat sold Thursday for up to 15,000 yen per kilogram, several times higher than the prices paid for Antarctic minkes.

The meat came from two minkes caught off the northern city of Kushiro on Monday when Japan resumed commercial whaling after 31 years.

During those years it conducted research hunts in the Antarctic that conservations criticized as a cover for banned commercial hunts.

Japan left the International Whaling Commission on June 30 and has promised the whalers will stay within its 200-mile exclusive economic waters.

Whale meat sellers celebrated the good start but expressed uncertainty about the future of their business amid slim demand.