TOKYO (AP) — WikiLeaks has released U.S. diplomatic cables that report Japan as saying that the activist group Sea Shepherd is hurting its ability to scale back annual whale hunts.

The cables describe the U.S. pushing Tokyo to consider limiting its whaling ahead of a meeting of the International Whaling Commission.

Japanese officials showed a willingness to negotiate. But they said a newly elected government was keen to avoid turning whaling into a major political issue, and the actions of the anti-whaling group Sea Shepherd Conservation Society made any compromise difficult.

Each year Sea Shepherd boats hinder Japan’s whaling fleet in Antarctic waters, and the two sides often clash at sea.

The June 2010 meeting of the IWC failed to reach a compromise.

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