By Ric O’Barry
Save Japan Dolphins Campaign
Earth Island Institute
I’m leaving shortly for Japan to help promote the opening of The Cove in more than 20 theaters, but already, the powerful forces that oppose our efforts to protect dolphins are at work. It was just announced that the Tokyo theater N. Shibuya will not screen The Cove, bowing to pressure from Nationalists and fishermen’s unions who have inundated the theater owners with threats and phone calls. So far, two additional theaters have canceled, another one in Tokyo and one in Osaka.
Of course, we’ve known from the beginning that the Japan Fisheries Agency would likely get the Nationalist thugs and unions involved in the Taiji dolphin issue, just as they have done so for years for their illegal and immoral whaling operations. By threatening loud demonstrations in front of theaters, they can intimidate theater owners.
The Cove won every major international film award including the Academy Award. These awards are given for "entertainment value". The Japanese people have a right to see it if they want to. Article 21 of the Japanese Constitution guarantees them the right. It's not right that a small minority of extremists could take this right away from them. To do so is a clear threat to democracy.
The opponents of screening The Cove claim the film is “anti-Japanese,” but the film and we have always made it clear that neither the people of Japan nor the country is at fault in the dolphin slaughter. The slaughter is only supported by the Japan Fisheries Agency and a handful of fishermen, who are keeping the truth secret from the people of Japan.
Right-wing extremists demonstrated at the home in Japan of Medallion's CEO, Mr. Kato, whose company is distributing The Cove. You can see the out-of-contral demonstration in the link below. Among the many things they are chanting as they beat on his door: “Criminal, Terrorist, Traitor.” Mr. Kato had to sneak his family out a backdoor.
In response to these brazen attempts at intimidation, Mr. Kato's stated: “Since The Cove won the Oscar, our office and my house has been relentlessly attacked by propaganda activities. Now these attacks have begun on theaters. Theater N Shibuya made a tough decision. The Cove is not an anti-Japanese film. We need to debate the content in constructive way. We lament that we are losing the opportunities to see the film about Japan, in Japan.
Why are they so scared about the truth of the dolphin slaughter getting out? The answer is obvious: Because they know that the massive dolphin slaughter is indefensible — tragically cruel — scientifically unsupportable. Dolphin meat is laced with poisonous mercury and should not be eaten by anyone. And anyone who sees The Cove knows that the hunts are not justified.
We can get around the threats and pressure by standing behind the distribution company Unplugged/Medallion trying to show The Cove, by having me and the Save Japan Dolphins Team in Japan presenting The Cove movie, and by making the opposition a story in itself in Japan, so the public knows the government, the unions and the Nationalists are trying to hide the truth from the people of Japan.
I know the Japanese people will press for an end to the dolphin slaughter once they know the truth.
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
If you speak Japanese, or have friends or family that live there, please show your support by:
- Sharing these Japanese language materials: http://www.takepart.com/node/135442
- If you have a blog, please post messages of support. Keep it positive – this is about people’s right to see the film and make up their own minds.
- If you’re on twitter, please follow and tweet out http://www.twitter.com/thecovejapan
- Look for The Cove and/or Medallion/Unplugged on Mixi and Gree, and please post messages of support.
- Visit our website http://www.SaveJapanDolphins.org to see the 15-minute Japanese version of The Cove. In Japan, ask you friends to go to: http://www.savejapandolphins.jp/
Your donations will help us spread the word in Japan about The Cove, the movie the dolphin killers and right wing don’t want the Japanese people to see. Please help if you can: Donate Here
Your support will help me on this trip to Japan to meet with Japanese media to break through the blackout; screen The Cove throughout Japan; and stand up for the official movie opening at more than 20 theaters.
Thanks again for all your help and support. While I’m in Japan, it helps a lot for me to remember the many dolphin supporters around the world who are with Earth Island and me for this Campaign to Save Japan Dolphins. I really appreciate it!