Sunday, September 27, 2009

Interviews and Minke Whales

By Richard O’Barry
Campaign Director
Save Japan Dolphins Coalition

Every time I come here, the beauty of Taiji and the surrounding coastline always impresses me. It really is a wonderful place.

As I told the TV cameras today during our tour of Taiji, this place is like Norman Rockwell meets Norman Bates. The coastline, the rugged mountains dotted with shrines, and the small towns surround you (along with places like the notorious Taiji Whale Museum that supposedly celebrates whales). But just around the corner, the sea runs red with blood.

But not today, thankfully. Again, no dolphins were herded into the Cove. Every day we are here saves the lives of a few more dolphins.

The TV crews had a confrontation today with the Taiji fishermen – I stayed out of it. We heard that the Fishermen’s Union were promoting a special sale today of the meat of Minke whales from Japan’s so-called scientific research permits. So, Sky TV and Australia 60 Minutes went over to buy whale meat. But the reporters were kicked out, and the fishermen refused to talk to the media.

If you have seen “The Cove”, you will remember the character I dubbed Private Space. He was there today yelling at the cameras and reporters to leave the property. The police came and, professional as always, they asked for passports and politely instructed that the Fishermen’s Union property was off limits to the media.

It was the fishermen who called the police this time, but in the past, when I have suffered from harassment by the fishermen, the police have helped me and instructed the fishermen to stop. As I said, the police of Wakayama Prefecture are always polite and professional to us, and I repeatedly have thanked them for that.

In my interview today with the Australia 60 Minutes crew, I told them of the importance of Broome, the town in Australia, which suspended its sister-city relationship with Taiji. Before that event, the Japanese media had ignored the story of “The Cove.” Now, the Japanese media is all over the story.

But we hear that the Broome Shire Council may reconsider their decision, so we need to tell the people of Broome to support the original decision – Broome can renew its sister-city link with Taiji when the killing stops.

We continue to work to build pressure on Japan and within Japan to finally end the killing of whales and dolphins. Japan has just had a historic change in government, where the ruling political party was kicked out of office after 50+ years of control of the government. The new party in charge does not have the ties to the rural whaling towns that the former party had.

This might not mean dramatic changes in the governing of Japan, but some observers feel the Japanese public may be ready for real change here. It remains to be seen if the new government (which will take months to get organized) moves to end the subsidized killing of whales and dolphins that have generated so much international opposition. Whaling, and now the slaughter of dolphins, really is an international stain on Japan.

Please help us, at this critical time, work to stop the slaughter. Your donation will help us reach more people in Japan and bring them the truth their recent government has hidden from them.

Click Here to Donate

Thank you for your support. We are making good progress in ending the slaughter of dolphins and whales once and for all. Your support is very much appreciated by me personally and by all our team in the Save Japan Dolphin Coalition.

Ric O’Barry is interviewed by Australia 60 Minutes, the biggest news show in Australia, overlooking the Cove.
Photo copyright Mark J. Palmer.

Ric O’Barry is interviewed for a story for Sky TV.
Photo copyright Mark J. Palmer.

The police talk to media folks and our translator Kiki across the street from the Taiji Fishermen’s Union, where Minke whale meat is on sale.
Photo copyright Mark J. Palmer.

Police talk to representatives of the Taiji Fishermen’s Union. Underneath the roof, meat from Minke whales is being sold to local people by the Union. The gentleman in the black t-shirt is known to us as Private Space from the movie, “The Cove.”
Photo copyright Mark J. Palmer.

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