Japan recently approved commercial whale hunting, ending a ban that lasted more than 30 years. But even when the ban was in place, whales generated big business in Japan because of the popularity of whale watching.
The number of whale watchers around Japan more than doubled between 1998 and 2015, official information shows. Data for more recent years is not yet available. One company in Okinawa had 18,000 watchers between January and March of this year.
One of the most popular places for whale watching is Rausu, a fishing village on the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido.
In Rausu, 33,451 people took part in boat tours last year for whale and bird watching. That is 2,000 more than in 2017 and more than 9,000 higher than in 2016. The visitors are good for the local economy.
Ikuyo Wakabayashi is head of tourism in the Rausu area. She told Reuters news agency the number of visitors keeps growing each year. Of the tourist boat business, 65 percent is whale watching.
You don't just see one type of whale here, you see lots of them, said Wakabayashi, who is a big fan of whales herself. She says whale watching is what led her to move to Rausu from her native city of Osaka.
Wakabayashi said she fell in love with the area after three trips to Rausu to see orcas. I thought this was an incredible place, she said. Winters are tough, but it's so beautiful.
Rausu is 160 kilometers north of the port city of Kushiro. That is where the first ships left from earlier this month to restart whale hunting. On the first day of the hunt, two minke whales were killed.
One whale-watching boat operator in Rausu, Masato Hasegawa, said his tours also search for minke whales. But the former fisherman said hunters do not go after some other kinds of whales his visitors recently saw, such as sperm whales and orcas.
Hasegawa said one of the best places in the area to see whales is protected from hunting. They won't come into this area - it's a national park - or there'd be big trouble, he said.
But Hasegawa said if hunters take a lot of minke whales in the nearby Sea of Okhotsk, it would reduce sightings and hurt the business. Whale watching has become popular in other areas of Japan as well, including parts of the southern Okinawa islands.
Commercial whaling is a very small industry in Japan. It employs a few hundred people. Government data shows that whale makes up just 0.1 percent of meat eaten in the country.
Some experts say Japan's move might help some whales because it means that Japan will stop hunting whales in the Southern Ocean, the Atlantic Ocean and other sensitive areas.
Japan's Fisheries Agency has set a limit of 227 whale kills for this year. In the past, Japan caught as many as 1,200 whales a year in the name of scientific research.
I'm Bryan Lynn.
1.take part in 参加，参与
If so, they should go take part in Training Class of learning techniques.
2.fall in love with 爱上
This only happened since, I fell in love with you.
日本赏鲸的人数在1998-2015年间实现了翻倍，这是官方数据显示的 。最近这两年的数据暂时还没有公布 。冲绳的一家公司在今年1-3月期间接待了1.8万名赏鲸者 。
在罗臼，去年有33451人乘船游览，观赏鲸鱼和鸟类 。这一数字比2017年增长了2000人，比2016年增长了9000人 。游客们促进了当地经济的增长 。
若林郁代是罗臼地区旅游业的负责人 。她在接受路透社采访时表示，观赏的人数还在持续上涨 。在乘船旅游的生意中，赏鲸占比65% 。
在这里不只能看到一种鲸鱼，能看到好多鲸鱼，若林郁代如是说道 。她本人也很喜欢赏鲸 。她表示，赏鲸是她从家乡大阪来罗臼的原因 。
若林郁代表示，她在乘船观赏了3次逆戟鲸之后就爱上了罗臼 。我认为这里太棒了，她如是说道 。冬天很冷，但这并不影响这里的美丽 。
罗臼位于港口城市钏路北部160公里的地方 。正是在这里，首批船只于本月初离开这里，重启捕鲸 。捕鲸的第一天，有2只小须鲸被杀 。
罗臼有一个赏鲸观赏船只的驾驶员，他叫驰川正户 。他表示，他观赏的时候也会寻找小须鲸 。但之前当过渔民的他说，捕鲸者不会捕杀游客们最近看到的其它鲸鱼，例如抹香鲸和逆戟鲸 。
驰川正户表示，罗臼最棒的一个地方就是看到鲸鱼受到保护，不被捕杀 。捕鲸者不回来这里的——这里是国家公园——如果她们来了，他们就会有大麻烦，他如是说道 。
不过，驰川正户表示，如果捕鲸者在附近的鄂霍次克海捕获大量小须鲸的话，就会减少观光人次并削弱观光经济 。赏鲸在日本的其他地区也很出名，包括冲绳岛南部的部分地区 。
商业捕鲸是日本很小的一个行业，只有几百名从业人员 。政府数据显示，鲸鱼只占日本摄入肉类的0.1% 。
日本渔业局设定了今年只能捕杀227只鲸鱼的上限 。以前，日本每年会抓捕1200只鲸鱼，美其名曰科学研究 。
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