Here is a quote from the Japanese website:
The research includes non-lethal sighting surveys and biopsy samplings from live whales as well as a lethal research take of 850 minke whales and 50 fin whales.I'm sorry, but as someone who grew up very close to the ocean and has spent a lot of time in the ocean, I just have to vote for the whales. We don't need to kill them in order to do research. Just because there is enough whales, it does not mean that we should kill even a single one. We don't know enough about whale life to really help them and I don't think we ever should know much about it. We should just leave them alone. They get the oceans, we get the land. It is a fair deal.
Mr Morimoto said that commonsense needed to be brought into the discussions over commercial whaling. “Many whale stocks in the world today are abundant and commercial whaling can be managed on a sustainable basis, while conserving real threatened species (such as the blue whale) based on evidence derived from scientific research.”