A U.S. activist opposing the dolphin hunt in Taiji, Wakayama Prefecture, now in detention near Narita International Airport said Tuesday he is a political prisoner for his efforts to save dolphins.

Ric O'Barry, who was featured in the Oscar-winning documentary "The Cove," has been held since being denied entry to Japan on Jan. 18 and faces deportation.

His work to help dolphins was highlighted in the 2009 film about the annual cull in Taiji in which hundreds of dolphins are driven to shore and killed.