Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga has announced Japan is withdrawing from the International Whaling Commission, or IWC.
Suga said in a news conference on Wednesday that Japan plans to resume commercial whaling from July.
He said Japan has sought ways to promote sustainable whaling for more than 30 years, but has been unable to find common ground with anti-whaling countries.
He said the outcome of the IWC's September general meeting made clear it was impossible for pro and anti-whaling countries to coexist in the forum.
Suga said Japan will hunt for whales only in its territorial waters and exclusive economic zones. He said the country would not hunt in the Antarctic Ocean and other parts of the Southern Hemisphere.
He also said Japan will use the IWC's method for calculating quotas to determine the number of whales it catches.
Japan suspended commercial whaling in 1988, in line with a 1982 IWC moratorium. The country currently says it catches whales for research purposes only.
Japan has proposed resuming commercial whaling more than 20 times in recent years, claiming the numbers of some species have recovered. But these attempts were blocked by anti-whaling nations.
Japan's withdrawal from the IWC will go into effect on June 30th if it notifies the US government by January 1st. The United States is in charge of accepting applications for joining or withdrawing from the commission.
Japan plans to meet this deadline.
The move is expected to draw sharp reactions from around the world. The government is planning to send delegations to some anti-whaling countries to seek their understanding.