After years of defiantly eating whale meat in the face of an international ban on whaling, the Japanese are finally cutting back on their consumption — but they’re doing it because the meat is so highly contaminated by pollution, not because they are concerned about dwindling whale populations. Japanese scientists have found high levels of dangerous heavy metals and chemicals in whale meat and have advised people to stop eating it, leading to a slump in sales. Many Japanese retailers, including one 300-branch supermarket chain, have started removing all whale meat products from their shelves. Last month, a coalition of citizens groups was formed to pressure the Japanese government to take fast action on the issue.