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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Japan Warned Over Whaling

WASHINGTON -- The United States said on Thursday it was prepared to retaliate against Japan with "very strong" measures if Tokyo pressed ahead with a hotly contested whale hunt in the north Pacific.

Over objections from the United States, Britain and leading environmental groups, Japan told Washington last week it would hunt large sperm and Bryde's whales, two species protected under U.S. law.

"We have sent the Japanese a message. We will take very strong action if we find that they are in fact taking sperm and Bryde's whales," said Commerce Secretary Norman Mineta.

U.S. officials have said Washington may impose trade sanctions against Japanese fishery products and other goods if any whales are slaughtered. Mineta said the Japanese whaling fleet was being closely monitored.

Mineta said the U.S. ambassador to Japan, Thomas Foley, delivered his stern warning to Tokyo on Monday.

The Japanese already hunt the minke whale.