It could be a nasty December in the Antarctic: Japan says it will go ahead with its annual whale hunt and promises to ramp up security to protects its boats from activists, reports AP. The leading activist group, the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, promises to be back in full force. Last year, one of its ships sank after colliding with a Japanese vessel, and its constant harassment forced Japan's fleet to return home with only about a fifth of its quota, notes the Australian Broadcast Corporation.
Even though commercial whale hunting has been banned since 1986, Japan is able to conduct its annual hunt because it falls under "research." It's research with an agenda, explains AP: Japan hopes to prove that enough whales exist to overturn the ban on commercial hunting. Sea Shepherd, meanwhile, is calling this year's effort to stop the ships "Operation Divine Wind"—after Japan's kamikaze suicide missions of WWII. (Read more Japan stories.)