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.

    • Jonathan Fields

      You can be critical of certain aspects of something and still love it. I love America, but there are dozens upon dozens of things I hate about it. Same with Japan. You just don’t like the idea that a foreigner would be critical of something Japanese.

      I don’t have an opinion either way because I’m a huge meat eater, but it’s fun to see the mental gymnastics people will perform to argue in favor of the dolphin drives.

      • parkmcgraw

        Hello Jonathan Fields

        It is much deeper an issue than simply:

        “You just don’t like the idea that a foreigner would be critical of something Japanese.”

        The topic of what one can eat in many countries being an issue of sovereign rights (e.g. eating dogs in Asia, horses in Europe, …) along with an expected desire by other nations for non external interference relative to a topic void of any natural laws against such hunting activity, the nature of the animal and environment limiting methodology.
        The eating of whales in Japan and like dolphin also an issue of conditioning as well for the nation desires to have its citizens be accustom or tolerate the eating of such foods as the nation has a history of famine. My mother enduring food shortages during WWII, her friend in Nagasaki resorting to buying rice on the black market, purchasing such in the hills above the city. A friend of mine in China stating that the only limits to eating is if the food item is edible. Myself not partial to the taste of whale but would eat such if necessary having already eaten lots of small fish heads in a Korean orphanage, that or starve.
        In short, there are a number of subtle, social drivers to such activity. Many of these motivators being beyond the general understanding of sheltered westerners. Thus, the hunting of dolphin is addressed by some as inexplicable if not unacceptable behavior, one void of civility and as such, the target of misdirected guilt and aggression.
        As a related note and relative to foreign pressure with the goal of modifying the behavior of an entire nation, do not like being lectured by non accountable politicians from Mexico and visiting the US, we need to tolerate illegals.
        Park McGraw

      • Jonathan Fields

        You basically just reaffirmed my post. It’s not “an entire nation.” Most Japanese people don’t eat whale on a regular basis, most have never eaten whale, and a vast majority have never eaten and will never eat dolphin. I’ve met Japanese people who don’t even believe that you can eat dolphin in Japan. It’s not a part of the culture at all, and it’s not “beyond the general understanding” of Westerners. Considering there are Westerners for whom the consumption of whale is a far bigger part of the culture than for Japanese people, your statement is doubly silly.

      • parkmcgraw

        Hello Jonathan Fields

        You state and only partially correct:

        “most have never eaten whale”

        for whale meat, and until recently was served in many public schools in Japan. My ex wife, every girl friend, my cousins, my mother, all of her friends, …. having had whale served for school lunch.

        You state:

        “Most Japanese people don’t eat whale on a regular basis” “vast majority have never eaten and will never eat dolphin”

        correct for the current modern condition on whale and for the most part on dolphin, food production being plentiful. These proteins being a last resort food as few nations wish to confess on a world stage that during famine conditions, there being little arable land in Japan, that many in the population may have to transition to such protein source. Japan in the past simply getting people accustom to the item and taste as few I know in Japan actually enjoy eating whale. During emergencies, war, … being the wrong time to start exposure. You being too dismissive of what those with personal experience are sharing and as such not appreciating the greater context of the conversation.

  • 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.

    • Diorama

      It would be like trying to appeal directly to Americans to stop their childish and dangerous obsession with owning murder weapons as a hobby. Thousands and thousands and thousands of people die in the USA every single year because of a primitive and barbaric culture. It’s obscene and disgusting, but Americans just can’t see it because they are so culturally blind. It’s like appealing to cult members.

      • tisho

        Do you own a knife? If so, then you own murder weapon as well. The act of committing a crime, and the means by which the act has been committed are two different things. You want to criminalize the crime, not the way it has been committed. Everything can be used to murder someone. It just so happens to be that the American criminals favorite weapon of choice is a gun. A gun is not made to murder, it is made to shoot bullets, whether to choose to shoot at people or at cans depends on your intentions, whether you choose to use a knife to stab people or cut your bread depends on your intentions. Most Americans own a gun for self protection. Serbia and Switzerland have the second and third largest number of gun ownership per capita in the world after the US, when the last time you heard of a gun related crimes in those places? They have low crime rates, and the crimes they have not committed using guns, which means their criminals would rather use another weapon. I am sure you have better chance at convincing the president of the NRA to get rid of his guns, than you do with any random Japanese to even consider the idea that what his government is doing might be wrong. Try if if you don’t believe me. You’re not even going to engage in a conversation with the Japanese, you will at least be able to have a conversation with the president of the NRA.

      • Diorama

        As I said, like trying to appeal to a cult member.
        You really think my bread knife and a pistol are equivalent? The bread knife was designed and made to cut bread, any murdering ability is outside the use parameters, just as in choking someone with a newspaper.
        The pistol was designed with the sole purpose of shooting people. Don’t talk your way around that in a desperate attempt to come off as intellectual, guns are designed, tested, built and bought for shooting other people.
        You will never be able to understand because you are in the system. Just like the Japanese and their dolphins. Your gun ownership examples are useless by the way, don’t know if you’re doing it on purpose but you know why Switzerland is different.
        A gun is made to murder.
        You say a gun is made to ‘shoot bullets’.
        In the same way that ‘a car isn’t made to drive, it’s made to rotate the wheels’. You’re just being facetious. Go to Sig or Colt or S&W and see if they’ve heard of ‘stopping power’ and have a long hard think.
        I don’t care about gun control by the way as I’m from a civilised country, but thank you for proving my point. It’s very easy for you to talk about Japan and whales and how appealing to them is useless, but you have to understand that your views are as (if not more) abhorrent to people from modern countries.

      • tisho

        What is your definition of a cult member? In my understanding, a cult member would be someone who is living in his own bubble and does not want to hear or see any different opinion or viewpoint from his own, someone who does not want to think critically and question things. Am i doing those things? I am here to have a debate with you, you say that guns are the reason for the high crime rates, i say that’s not true. I am open to a debate, as you see i am not running or shutting you down, i am here displaying my arguments and engaging in a debate, i am open to change my opinions if you can persuade me to do so, that is the exact opposite of what your average Japanese or any cult member would do.

        I am not an American by the way, nor do i own a gun, or advocate for gun ownership. I advocate for freedom to own a gun, and so far i am yet to see any good arguments against this.

        let’s examine your arguments. Yes, i see knife and pistol as an equivalent in terms of killing people, what is the difference? Is it the ease by which you can kill someone with a gun as oppose to the efforts you have to put in stabbing someone? Is the criteria the ease of killing? Here’s where your argument falls apart, you claim that guns are designed to kill people, and knifes are designed to cut bread. I call this a straw men argument. This is simply false claim. Guns are not designed to murder people, guns are designed to shoot bullets. Guns have a variety of purposes and usages, not a single one. The same way knifes do not have one purpose, they are items, designed to be used for whatever people see fit. They have no purpose, they have usages, the company produces this item, people buy it, and use it for various purposes. They are not made to cut bread, they CAN be used to cut bread. They can be used for others things too. Guns are not designed with the purpose of shooting at people, they CAN be used to shoot at people, they can be used at doing other things too. A cat is not designed to go from point A to point B, this is just one of its usages, others can be racing, trashing it, spraying it, or whatever. There is no PURPOSE, there is usage.

        Guns have multiple usages, just like knifes and forks have multiple usages. If the only reason people bought a gun was to use it to shoot at people, then everybody who owns a gun would be killing each other, the fact that this does not happen means that people do not buy it with the single purpose in mind of using it to shoot at people. The same way people do not buy a knife with the single purpose in mind of using it to cut bread.

        Why is my example with Switzerland different? No, i don’t know why Switzerland is different, why is that? The people are less violent? Swiss criminals prefer killing people with different objects?

        Yes, a gun is made to ”shoot bullets”. You can ”shoot bullets” at cans, the sky, at trees, at the wall, inanimate targets, and so on. They are not made to ”shoot bullets at people”, the same way knifes are not made to ”cut bread”, as i already explained about the multiple usages of items.

        It’s easy for me to talk about Japan and how appealing to them is useless because i am talking from personal experience, and know that they operate on the same way a cult operates, every attempt i have made has come to the exact same outcome, so i have reached a conclusion that they operate on the basis of cult members, they do not wish to engage in debate or think critically, question their assumptions or information they have, they do not wish to re-think their views, they want you to either accept them or shut up. In contrast, i have spoken with all kinds of Americans about all kinds of issues, from moon landing, to 9/11, to owning guns. My observation has concluded that even the ones that are opposed to my views were always eager to engage in debate with me, display their opinions and question them based on what i am saying. In Japan, this is beyond impossible, as questioning equals isolation and cult suspension, you do not question, you conform and obey, like all ”real japanese” aka cult members do. You try do the opposite, and there will be a consequences for you.

      • tisho

        Do you own a knife? If so, then you own murder weapon as well. The act of committing a crime, and the means by which the act has been committed are two different things. You want to criminalize the crime, not the way it has been committed. Everything can be used to murder someone. It just so happens to be that the American criminals favorite weapon of choice is a gun. A gun is not made to murder, it is made to shoot bullets, whether to choose to shoot at people or at cans depends on your intentions, whether you choose to use a knife to stab people or cut your bread depends on your intentions. Most Americans own a gun for self protection. Serbia and Switzerland have the second and third largest number of gun ownership per capita in the world after the US, when the last time you heard of a gun related crimes in those places? They have low crime rates, and the crimes they have not committed using guns, which means their criminals would rather use another weapon. I am sure you have better chance at convincing the president of the NRA to get rid of his guns, than you do with any random Japanese to even consider the idea that what his government is doing might be wrong. Try if if you don’t believe me. You’re not even going to engage in a conversation with the Japanese, you will at least be able to have a conversation with the president of the NRA.

  • 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.