Japanese whaling ships have departed for the controversial annual Antarctic hunt, despite international opposition, local media said.
The ships left from the port of Shimonoseki in south-western Japan, according to the public broadcaster NHK.
Japan says its whaling programme is for scientific research.
However, in 2014 the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled it did not qualify as scientific and should cease.
That season Japan said it would respect the decision and did not catch any whales.
Japan’s Fisheries Agency said on Monday that it has taken into account the ICJ’s ruling and the hunt this season will be much smaller, aiming to catch 333 Antarctic minke whales, about one-third of what it used to kill.