The western Japan town of Taiji, known for its whaling and dolphin hunts, said Wednesday it has established a sister-city relationship with a town on the Faroe Islands in the North Atlantic with similar hunting practices.
Taiji Mayor Kazutaka Sangen told a press conference he visited the town of Klaksvic on the islands and concluded a partnership agreement on Saturday.
"Taiji town has faced criticism by antiwhaling groups but I hope people will know there is another town which is culturally similar to us" through the partnership, Sangen said.
The traditional drive hunting method of catching dolphins and small whales practiced by the two towns has drawn international criticism as fishermen herd cetaceans into a cove before sealing the area with a net.
The Klaksvik mayor is expected to visit Taiji in Wakayama Prefecture later this year and discuss exchange programs, according to the Japanese town.
Sangen visited the Faroe Islands town last August to discuss the partnership, but the signing of the accord was postponed as Klaksvik needed to make some arrangements with its assembly.