There have been many whaling laws put in place over the years (you can view the international lists here: http://www.animallaw.info/articles/ovuswhalelaws.htm) but those who are still whaling get around it. The japanese justify their use of whale products by claiming research into sustainable whaling. Alot can be read from the ear canal of a dead whale, so the Japanese are using this to continue their slaughter of the animal - research needed therefore whales have to die - but why waste the carcuss? This is an awful excuse with which to continue whaling but it cannot be stopped as animal murder is often excused for research.
So, do your bit, support Save the Whales, sign those petitions and check your products before you buy them, because as Melville said: