Japan’s whaling fleet has returned home with 88 carcasses — 40 minke whales, 43 Bryde’s, and five sperm. The Japanese government announced yesterday that it plans to continue its controversial hunt for the three species next year, maintaining that the nation has a right to conduct “scientific” whaling, though the meat from the whales is sold as a high-priced delicacy after scientists finish up their research on the dead animals. Japan’s decision this year to expand its hunt has prompted an outcry from the international community. The U.S. reacted last week by saying that it will deny Japan some fishing rights in American waters, and the U.S. has also threatened to impose sanctions. Meanwhile, a survey of Japanese citizens has found that only a tenth believe the nation’s cultural identity would be damaged if whaling were abandoned, and nearly two-thirds haven’t eaten whale meat since they were children.