By Ric O’Barry
Save Japan Dolphins Campaign
Earth Island Institute
Tokyo, June 9, "Keep the motor running" is the theme of today's events that started off in the morning with a grueling round of more interviews capped by an unexpected turn of events in the evening.
I was warned by The Cove's distributor to scrap an appearance at a scheduled screening of the documentary that night due to security concerns. The special venue was held at a large theatre in Tokyo attended by some 600 Japanese, including 60 of Japan's top journalists. The event was organized by a Japanese editor who felt their civil liberties were being trampled on, and, since they couldn't provide security, I was told I wouldn't be allowed to go. I told them I'm going anyhow and I did. They ushered me in the back door, and I went on stage after the film, which was very well received by the journalists and others that were there, and I held up our sign about Japan's constitutional article 21, about freedom of the press, and I read it slowly, emphasizing the last line which reads "and all other forms of expression." And I said therefore you have the right to see The Cove, and they applauded that.
There was a panel of five or six people sitting on the stage, and they were going to have a panel discussion after I left, so I reminded them that while they're having their discussion to consider article 21. I also told the audience that the movie will do what the Japanese media so far has failed to do, and that is, to inform the people. There were people in the room from the extreme nationalists, and since I surprised the audience (because I wasn't on the agenda) they didn't have time to send in their loud protestors. I was able to get in there within five minutes, and get out of there and into the car, which had the motor running, and Unplugged got me quickly back to the hotel! Whew!
There's so much media attention now, and many of the journalists will be going down to cover the Wakayama University event tomorrow, where I’m talking to students. So what the nationalist militants did by calling the theatres and threatening them to drop out seems to be backfiring on them, because their protests against the film have generated a lot more interest in the movie throughout the country.
I'm all over the news now, and the same extremist who targeted the distributor know I'm here. I stay in the hotel and don't walk around!
I wanted to personally thank all of you who have contributed to Save Japan Dolphins for your support! We are finally making major inroads into Japan, with The Cove movie and our message of hope for the dolphins. Your support has meant a lot! Thank you!