In a move that has angered the international community, Japan sent out a fleet of ships into the North Pacific on Saturday with the aim of killing three species of whales — minke, sperm, and Bryde’s. An international moratorium on commercial whaling went into effect in 1986, but Japan has continued to hunt several hundred minke whales a year under the guise of “scientific research,” with the meat ending up in Japanese markets. Other countries tolerated the hunting because minkes are relatively abundant, but the U.S. and Britain are now angry because Japan this year decided to expand its “research” hunt to include sperm and Bryde’s whales, two species that were nearly hunted to extinction in recent decades. The Clinton administration is considering trade sanctions against Japan.