OK, for those too lazy to do for themselves you can start here. (All of these pages come from the Japanese Cetacean Research Institute; the organisation undertaking the actual "research".) Read this because it outlines the "historic and cultural justifications" of Japan's whaling research.
Next, read what is essentially ICR's "Mission Statement". Think as you read this, how much of this research would require the killing of whales. "Observation", "sighting surveys"? OK are they that dumb they have to kill it so that they can say "Oh, it is a whale!"? As a matter of interest, NZ is running very similar "surveys" to those being undertaken by CRI. It involves taking tissue samples by dart (roughly 50 grams of flesh) from the whale. You want a link to that too?
The justification for killing whales is briefly outlined here. Take a read, it is only two pages. Make up your own mind whether the killing of 440 whales a year (their number) is justified. Think too at the same time what might happen to the (minimum) 1000 tonnes of whale meat.
Then read this letter from ICR to the NZ Ambassador to Japan. Make your own mind up about that as well.
Finally, remember all of this comes from ICR. None from those who are opposing the Japanese whaling.
This is an odd thought; but if NOBODY wants all that whale meat, then the market for it would dry up quicker than hand gun conceal permits in New York City.
You would think so. But if someone offered you protein food at half the price or less of good beef would you at least hesitate? Read some of the Japanese opposition web pages (with as much scepticism as you need). At least two I came across mentioned that whale meat was being provided to junior schools as part of the Japanese government's "food for schools" programme. Is that true? Well I take it with a couple grains of salt, but I would not be at all surprised if it were true.
[Afterthought] Both of those pages included "letters from Japanese mothers" stating their opposition to their children being fed whale meat. No, TF, I don't believe everything I read on the 'net...