A surprise declaration by the International Whaling Commission, issued today, states that Japan has agreed to halve its whaling quota next year.
The statement was confirmed by the Japaneses Sushi Minister, Mr Eetsa Lotafish, who said "Japan is sensitive to the feelings of the International community and has decided to act unilaterally to cut its annual whale catch.
Starting in 2011 we will only keep half of each whale that we kill. The other half will be returned to the ocean so that it can continue to be counted in population figures."
Despite the apparent agreement over the issue, there is still much debate in Japan over which end of the whale should be kept, the head or the tail. "While whale tongue is a favourite with many people, there are many others who believe whale genitalia has strong aphrodisiac properties.
A single whale penis could potentially save the sex lives of up to 1000 Japanese couples, an important factor in any final decision", said Mr Lotafish.
Reacting to criticism that the Japanese whale research program was simply a front to supply whale meat to the Japanese food market, Mr Lotafish said,
"The information we collect is extremely valuable. How else are we supposed to test the effectiveness of our explosive whale harpoons? The real scandal would be wasting the, regrettable, by-product that our research produces when it is so very tasty. The involvement of the Sushi Ministry is simply a coincidental historical artifact of the Japanese government system."
A correspondent from the BBC who asked whether Japan's apparent change of heart was an attempt to win International support for its position in an attempt to help Japan stop the work of environmental protection groups, was told,
"While it is true that the Sea Shepherds seriously hamper our 'research' we have no personal quarrel with any individual members of that organisation. In fact, when we get back to port, we often share a plate of whale and chips together, with a large bottle of saki to wash it down, and have a great laugh talking about the fun we had on the high seas. We Japanese have a great sense of humour and the trial of Mr Bethune, who playfully boarded one of our ships earlier this year, is a very good example of the little tricks we like to play on one another."