Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has defended Japan’s dolphin hunt earlier this month, an act that has been strongly criticized by the international community – including by newly appointed United States ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy who said that the corralling of hundreds of dolphins into the secluded Taiji Bay and killing them was “inhumane”. Abe, in an interview with CNN, had asked the world to understand that the controversial hunt was part of Japanese culture and tradition, not to mention that it financially supports the fishing communities involved in the hunt.
“The dolphin fishing that takes place in Taiji is an ancient fishing practice rooted in their culture. It supports their livelihoods,” Abe said in the interview which was uploaded onto CNN’s Japanese website on Friday. “We hope you will understand this,” he added, saying that the Japanese government was aware of criticism of the hunt. “In every country and region, there are practices and ways of living and culture that have been handed down from ancestors,” Abe said. “Naturally, I feel that these should be respected.”
According to the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, the Taiji fisherman herded more than 250 dolphins into the cove at Taiji on Jan. 18. The annual dolphin hunt caught worldwide attention when it became the subject of a 2009 Academy Award-winning documentary film called “The Cove”. Those who support the Japanese practice say that the dolphins that are targets of the hunt are not endangered, a position that has been echoed by the Japanese government. They say that the criticism the hunt receives is hypocritical, especially as they claim that the dolphin hunt is not different to the slaughter of an obviously bigger number of cows, pigs and sheep to satisfy global demand.
[via Yahoo News]