[JURIST] Japan threatened Friday to leave the International Whaling Commission [official website] to form a pro-whaling commission by 2006 if the 20-year moratorium on commercial whaling is not lifted and the IWC fails to establish a new whaling management system that would set quotas for whaling countries. Commercial whaling has been banned world-wide since 1986 and has been strongly condemned by the US [SR 121, 2001], but research whaling has been allowed and is widely practiced by Japan [press release]. Yoshimasa Hayashi, member of the Japanese House of Councillors [official website] and chair of a special committee on foreign affairs and defense, said he has delivered Japan's ultimatum to the US State Department and expressed Japan's growing impatience with the matter. Japan, where whale meat is part of the culinary culture, is the head of a growing pro-whaling faction of the IWC, joined by Ireland and Norway. AFP has more.