A meeting of the International Whaling Commission that could end a 15-year-old ban on commercial whaling began yesterday in London, with Japan and Norway leading the charge for reopening the (legal) market to whale meat. Norway has lifted a voluntary ban on exporting whale meat and blubber, and is preparing to export a stockpile of the yummy stuff to Japan. Japan kills about 500 whales a year as part of a “scientific” whaling program; somehow, the research meat ends up in pricey Tokyo restaurants. The Bush administration, meanwhile, gets to paint itself green on this one, taking the politically painless stance of backing a whaling ban.