By Ric O’Barry
Save Japan Dolphins
Earth Island Institute
For several important reasons, we have decided to cancel our plans in Taiji, Japan for Sept. 1st.
Most importantly, we received word that extreme nationalist groups are set to confront us in Taiji. Our work in Japan has never been about confrontation. We believe we are making progress by bringing the truth to the people of Japan about the dolphin slaughter and about mercury-poisoned dolphin meat in markets. We will not play the game that the nationalist groups want us to play – we will not have it become “us versus them”, a battle between dolphin hunters with their militant nationalist supporters and the foreigners who want to ruin Japan’s culture.
The militant nationalist groups may gather as they like in Taiji; we will be elsewhere in Japan, talking to the media, explaining the problem, and making sure the public understands that we are not there to fight, but to heal. Most of the Japanese people will be sympathetic to our message.
"We" are now more than 1.6 million people from 153 countries. Our Save Japan Dolphins Team will be on the ground in Japan on September 1st to voice our opposition to the annual dolphin slaughter, and we will do that in a peaceful and respectful manner.
I know some will be disappointed, but I really think we can do better elsewhere than Taiji at this time. Please know that I’m not concerned about my own safety; however many supporters are planning to join us, and I won’t risk their well being.
We will not abandon the dolphins in trouble in Taiji and other fishing villages. In fact, moving the event will allow us to show the full scope of the problem. Several other communities along the coast of Japan have dolphin kills, although most have abandoned the drive fishery that was depicted in The Cove. Most dolphins in Japan are harpooned offshore from small boats. And there is also the broader issue of captivity. We would like to discuss these issues in a neutral, conflict-fee environment.
Thanks for your understanding. To follow our next steps in Japan, I invite you to check my blog.