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.