• Burlington, Ontario

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In response to Laura Holland’s Sept. 11 letter, “Tourists ignoring dolphin culls“: First, I never suggested that the barbaric, inhumane dolphin drives in Japan were keeping tourists from coming to Japan. Unfortunately, concerns of radioactive content in foods and surroundings are now a deterrent for many to visit Japan.

The intent of my letter was written with compassion and respect toward Japan due to my observations of how many Westerners are blaming all of Japan for the brutal dolphin drives, and the whaling in the Southern Ocean, rather than targeting their animosity on the smaller groups actually involved in such activities.

For some reason, Holland felt it necessary to take a defensive and antagonistic position, making unresearched conclusions such as “dolphins do not experience the loss of family anywhere near the same extent, or in the same way, as humans do.” It’s absolutely impossible to address Holland’s apparent ignorance and spiritual deficiency on this issue in this letter other than to express compassion toward her. If Holland re-reads my Sept. 8 letter (“Boon for a new tourism drive”), I acknowledged and made reference to my own country’s shame, the seal hunt. More than 85 percent of Canadians do not condone our annual seal hunt, yet it continues.

My suggestion was merely that, if Japan chose to end the dolphin hunts, those in the world and especially those “sentimental” Westerners now holding Japan in a negative light, would see the country more favorably once again. And if a boom in eco-tourism started with wild dolphin watching replacing the hunts, of course more tourism would come to the country. Izumi Ishii, a former dolphin hunter, conducts such tours in the port of Futo. This was a hopeful look at potential positive change as our world changes.

Moreover, I expressed sincere concerns over the high mercury content and other toxins contained in dolphin and whale meat. This is something that is not being shared honestly with the citizens of Japan. The meat is tainted with chemicals that can cause brain damage, especially a concern for children and pregnant women.

I ache for the challenges facing Japan right now, and to see people negatively judge this country hurts me, too. Natural disasters cannot be prevented, nor can one ever prepare oneself enough for the great power of Nature, but there are some things we can control. Senseless inhumane killing of mercury tainted toxic meat for human consumption can and should be prevented.

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

susanna duft

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