Japan unexpectedly lost two key votes on the opening day of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) annual meeting on the Caribbean island of St Kitts.
The pro-whaling nation wanted to end work on conservation of small cetaceans such as dolphins and porpoises, and introduce secret ballots.
The IWC does not regulate the hunting of small cetaceans, but conducts research and gives advice on conservation, which Japan believes is not within the IWC's remit.
Environment groups believe that removing this research and advice function would have major implications for many species, such as the Yangtze river dolphin and the gulf porpoise of North America, both of which are Critically Endangered according to the internationally recognised Red List of Threatened Species.
Tuesday, June 20, 2006
BAIJI DOLPHINS - Anti-whalers cautious over Japan setback
Here's the BBC with news from the International Whaling Commission.