Japan says it plans to resume whale hunts in the Antarctic later this year, even though the International Whaling Commission says Tokyo hasn't proved that the mammals need to be killed for research.

The IWC's Scientific Committee said in a report on Friday that it wasn't able to determine whether lethal sampling is necessary for whale stock management and conservation.

The IWC banned commercial whaling in 1986, but Japan continued killing whales under an exemption for research.

Under Tokyo's revised proposal for the forthcoming whaling season, it plans to catch 333 minke whales each year between 2015 and 2027, about one-third of what it used to target.