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Japanese whalers defy US with sperm-whale mission

Defying a US warning, two Japanese whaling companies said this week they sent four ships out with orders to bag 400 sperm whales this season. The United States has said it will slash quotas for Japanese fishing within the 200-mile US offshore limit unless Japan observed an international ban on sperm whale hunting.

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The latest round of talks between the two countries broke up in Washington last week. Both sides agreed to continue discussions in the future.

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