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SAPPORO — The annual dolphin hunt in Taiji, Wakayama Prefecture, as documented in the film “The Cove” has sparked an emotional international debate, with animal rights activists decrying the capture and slaughter as unnecessary and cruel, and those in Japan who defend the slaughter as both legally permissible under international treaties and an ancient tradition.

But for Tetsuya Endo, a professor at the Health Sciences University of Hokkaido, there is a far more important issue related to the hunt that the public and the government must address.

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