Abe seeks world understanding on dolphin slaughter

Kyodo, AFP-JIJI

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe sought to explain to the international community in a recent interview with CNN the practice of dolphin hunting in Taiji, Wakayama Prefecture, responding to online comments recently posted by U.S. Ambassador Caroline Kennedy, who denounced the practice.

“The dolphin hunting that takes place in Taiji town is an ancient practice rooted in their culture and supports their livelihoods,” Abe said in the interview, part of which has been uploaded onto CNN’s website. “We hope you will understand this.”

While acknowledging criticism of the hunt, Abe said: “In every country and region, there are practices and ways of living and culture that have been handed down from ancestors. Naturally, I feel that they should be respected.”

Kennedy said on her official Twitter account, “Deeply concerned by inhumaneness of drive hunt dolphin killing. USG (the U.S. government) opposes drive hunt fisheries.”

Taiji came into the spotlight through the Oscar-winning U.S. documentary “The Cove,” which depicted the mass culling of dolphins and sparked international controversy.

The full interview will air Sunday on CNN.

  • David Moynes

    Does he include head hunters,cannibalism and burning witches in his” practices and ways of living and culture that have been handed down from ancestors” as things that should be respected?

  • kathleen kozak

    Cultural or not, eating dolphin meat is toxic to the people of Taiji. The concentrations of mercury and other toxins in the meat make it harmful for all who eat it. Children are particularly vulnerable, as are pregnant women. Leaders in Japan should consider the health and welfare of their people as more important than allowing “traditional” practices to persist. That is if they are actually concerned about the medical implications of their actions and not just about the money it generates. You can’t buy health, and once you lose it, it’s gone forever.