Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Goodbye (for now) to Taiji

By Richard O’Barry
Campaign Director
Save Japan Dolphins Coalition

This morning I went “on patrol”, driving around Taiji to make sure the local fishermen know that we are still around and still watching.

I was very pleased with what I saw – which was nothing. Not only was the Cove empty of any dolphins, there were also no signs of any activity to set up the dolphin hunt – for example, nets used to close off the Cove once the dolphins are driven in were not set in place ready to be deployed. All the dolphin drive boats depicted in “The Cove” Movie were tied up at the docks. There was no activity at the Fishermen’s Union.

Yesterday afternoon, it rained very hard, along with a strong wind – we are just at the end of the typhoon season here in Japan. But today dawned very calm – perfect dolphin hunting weather!

But because we are here, a whole team of activists from the Save Japan Dolphins Coalition, the fishermen are laying low and the dolphins are free in the wild ocean offshore.

As I mentioned before, I have to leave today to attend another film festival in Hamburg, Germany, and help promote “The Cove” Movie, which opens in Europe on October 23rd. But a German film crew is heading here for ten days. By the time they leave, the Save Japan Dolphins Coalition Team and I hope to be back here again.

We just learned that “The Cove” Movie will be screened at the Tokyo International Film Festival on Wednesday morning at 10:30AM, October 21st. Not a very auspicious time for a film screening! But we are working with our Japan contacts to see that we get lots of tickets sold. And the Japanese media will be there – likely making the screening into a very big story.

As you know, the Film Festival, despite having a focus on environmental issues this year (they will be using a green carpet instead of a red carpet!), at first was going to reject showing “The Cove.” Actor Ben Stiller and other friends from Hollywood stepped into the breach, demanding that the Tokyo Film Festival not give in to government pressure from the Japan Fisheries Agency.

I need your support to come back to Japan and go “on patrol” in Taiji again in a month. It is an exhausting schedule, and Japan is very expensive to travel to and stay in. Your donations make my work and the work of the Save Japan Dolphins Coalition possible.

Click Here to Donate

Thanks for all your help! I’ll be back online soon with further installments of this Blog. Please keep checking this website for updates and actions you can take to save Japan’s dolphins.

This morning, yesterday’s storm started clearing away around the hills of Taiji, but the dolphin drive hunts are still on hold as the fishermen stay in port despite the good weather.
Photo Copyright Mark J. Palmer

Ric O’Barry kicks back as the train leaves the Taiji station. His next port of call: The Hamburg Film Festival.
Photo Copyright Mark J. Palmer

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