Japan deports ‘The Cove’ dolphin activist

AFP-JIJI

U.S. animal rights activist Ric O’Barry, detained for nearly three weeks after being denied entry to Japan, has been deported from the country, his supporters said Friday.

The star of the Oscar-winning documentary “The Cove” about dolphin killing in a town of Taiji, “has been placed on an airplane and deported from Japan, where he has been incarcerated for 19 days,” said a statement from Dolphin Project, a conservation group he heads.

O’Barry had been fighting for entry into Japan after immigration authorities refused to let him in last month and he was held at the airport until his departure.

Japanese immigration officials cited his past trip to an area he did not report to authorities when visiting Japan last year on a tourist visa, it said.

“It is ironic that they are deporting me to keep me quiet, when they themselves have brought more attention to the dolphin slaughter than ‘The Cove’ movie,” O’Barry said in the statement.

“It breaks my heart to be deported from a country I have grown to love.”

“The Cove,” which won an Academy Award in 2010, drew worldwide attention to the annual dolphin hunt in the small Japanese town of Taiji.

The 76-year-old O’Barry lost more than 10 kg and suffered a minor chest problem during his stay at a “jail-like facility of the Immigration Bureau at Narita Airport, Tokyo,” Dolphin Project lawyer Takashi Takano said in the same statement.

“Mr O’Barry’s visits to ‘The Cove’ in Taiji and his reports on dolphin hunting should be considered a legitimate tourist activity,” Takano said.

“To those who believe Japan is an open and democratic country, it must be shocking to realize this kind of experience can happen here and now.”

Japanese immigration officials have declined to comment on the incident, as they do not discuss the status of individual cases, and could not be reached after office hours Friday.

The website did not provide details on what time or to where O’Barry, a U.S. citizen, was deported.

O’Barry has bumped up against the Japanese legal system before.

In September he was arrested near Taiji on the eve of the start of the controversial six-month dolphin hunt for allegedly failing to carry his passport after being stopped by police.

He was released the following night.

In recent years, Japanese police have dispatched more officers to Taiji during the hunt in anticipation of possible clashes between locals and activists from conservation group Sea Shepherd.

O’Barry first found fame in the 1960s for catching and training five dolphins for the well-known television series “Flipper,” but he has recently fought against keeping the mammals in captivity.

  • English ChapinSF

    When will Japanese government realize that the slaughter of 25,000 dolphins a year in Japan is bring great hatred for the entire country? These barbaric butchering of intelligent and sentient beings would not be tolerated in ANY slaughterhouse in the world. Including Japan. This has NO place in 21st century. 100 or so fishermen in Taiji bring great shame to that nation.

  • Kessek

    Good riddance to bad rubbish.
    “It breaks my heart to be deported from a country I have grown to love.”
    More hypocritical words have never been spoken.

  • blondein_tokyo

    “To those who believe Japan is an open and democratic country, it must be
    shocking to realize this kind of experience can happen here and now.”

    To people who actually live in Japan, this is NOT surprising at all.

  • Philosopher

    If Japan believed it was doing nothing wrong by allowing dolphins to be killed in such a cruel fashion, it probably wouldn’t mind someone protesting against it.

  • Jonathan Fields

    That may sound like a lot, but over half a BILLION chickens will be eaten just this Sunday in America. The justifications for the dolphin drive are bad, but many of the arguments against it are too.

  • tisho

    Let that be a warning for anyone who dares to criticize our cult.. i mean country.

  • tisho

    ”appealing directly to the Japanese people” haha, do you know ANYTHING about Japan? That’s like saying you should appeal to a cult members. You want to appeal to the US government or other international organizations that can force that cult to stop the slaughters, although that would difficult, it’s like petitioning the US government to make Iran stop stoning women to death, unless you forcefully make them stop, you’re not going to convince the Iranian government to quit this primitive and barbaric customs, it’s just part of their culture.

  • parkmcgraw

    It is very disappointing to read that the Japanese resorted to practice:

    “Japanese immigration officials cited his past trip to an area he did not report to authorities when visiting Japan last year on a tourist visa”

    as one should treat others as they would want to be treated. There being an estimated 60k Japanese in the USA at any one time willfully over staying their visa. Disrespectful behavior needing to checked on both sides.

    Park McGraw

  • parkmcgraw

    It’s very disappointing to read that the Japanese resorted to such practice:

    “Japanese immigration officials cited his past trip to an area he did not report to authorities when visiting Japan last year on a tourist visa”

    as one should treat others as they would want to be treated. There being ~60k Japanese in the US at any one time willfully over staying their pass.

    Disrespect and abusive exploitation needing to be checked on both sides.

    Park McGraw

  • parkmcgraw

    It’s very disappointing to read that the Japanese resorted to such practice:

    “Japanese immigration officials cited his past trip to an area he did not report to authorities when visiting Japan last year on a tourist visa”

    as one should treat others as they would want to be treated. There being ~60k Japanese in the US at any one time willfully over staying their pass.

    Disrespect and abusive exploitation needing to be checked on both sides.

    Park McGraw

  • jam awns

    Whatever terrorism shouldn’t be allowed. Eco-terrorists have threatened innocent local citizens over a decade.

  • jam awns

    Unlimited non-whaling is unsustainable fishing industry.
    A certain number of whales should be culled each year to maintain their numbers. An excessive whale population is a veritable threat to the marine ecosystem and Japan, being one of the largest fish consumer nations in the world, is rightly worried about depleted fish stocks.
    Whale eat fish volume of 280-500 million ton per year, which is 3-6 times more than fish volume of tons people in the whole world eat per year.