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Japanese whaling practices have always sparked controversy among the international community. Japan's recent defiance of international environmental norms, however, risks a full-scale trade war led by U.S. demands to reform Japan's whaling practices or suffer trade sanctions. Although the species' endangered status may support sanctioning measures under international law, the United States must exercise caution in imposing restraints on international trade in light of its commitments under international trade agreements. The future of Japanese whaling remains unclear, but the international condemnation and call for restrictions is well-founded on international whaling and environmental norms.