Japan caused outrage on Friday after confirming that 2.28bn yen (about £19m) is being diverted away from tsunami relief efforts and will instead be used to protect the country’s whaling ships during the annual Antarctic whale hunt.
The Fisheries Agency of Japan says that using the money in this way will help fishing regions of the country, which were badly damaged by the tsunami, to recover faster. But critics argue that the money should be spent on infrastructure improvements and efforts to ease poverty.
Japan’s whaling activities are controversial, with many accusing them of going against the spirit of international law by exploiting a loophole regarding scientific missions. This year the country’s government has promised to beef up security significantly in the wake of last year’s demonstrations.