Australia condemned Japan's annual whaling expedition as its hunting fleet steamed to the Southern Ocean, and said a challenge through the International Court of Justice should be heard in 2013.
Japan's whaling research ship 'Nisshin Maru' is seen leaving from Innoshima island port in Hiroshima prefecture, western Japan, on December 28, 2012. Japanese whaling vessels left port bound for the Southern Ocean on their annual hunt for the huge marine mammals, according to a media report and Greenpeace.
Canberra is strongly opposed to whaling and launched legal action challenging the basis of the so-called "scientific" hunt in December 2010 after failing to persuade Tokyo to halt the cull of almost 1,000 animals through diplomatic channels.
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