Right-wing Japanese protesters banned from film of dolphin cull
Saturday 26 June 2010
A Japanese court has issued a rare ban against demonstrators who have hounded screenings of an Oscar-winning documentary exposing the country's infamous annual dolphin cull.
Yokohama regional court ordered members of a right-wing protest group to stay away from a theatre showing The Cove, which depicts the slaughter of 23,000 dolphins every year in the fishing town of Taiji.
Bullhorn-wielding ultra-nationalists have repeatedly descended on theatres that plan to screen the 92-minute movie, denouncing it as anti-Japanese. They say the documentary is a front for the direct-action conservationists, Sea Shepherd, which they denounce as a "terrorist" group. A general Japanese release of The Cove has been stalled for over a year amid fears of protests and even violent retribution against cinemas.
But film distributor Unplugged decided to take on the protesters on condition that the movie's makers block the faces of the local people it depicts. Over 20 theatres have agreed to screen it after a group of directors and publishers stood up to defend it, turning the controversy into a free-speech debate.
The court ban comes after a proposal to solve the bitter whaling dispute disintegrated this week at the conference of the International Whaling Commission in Agadir, Morocco. The vacuum left by that failure will likely lead to more action by conservationists – and retaliation by the Japanese authorities.
Tokyo yesterday placed the Sea Shepherd leader, Paul Watson, on an international wanted list as part of a campaign against eco-warriors who target the whaling industry. Japan's Coast Guard accuses Mr Watson of ordering an attack on its Antarctic whaling fleet earlier this year, when activists allegedly pelted the whaling crew with a mild acid.
Sea Shepherd's boat, the Ady Gil, captained by Peter Bethune, was destroyed in subsequent clashes when it collided with a whaling ship.
Mr Bethune is likely to be found guilty of obstructing the hunt and injuring a whaling crew member when the Tokyo District Court announces its verdict on 7 July.
Greenpeace activists Junichi Sato and Toru Suzuki also face lengthy custodial sentences on charges of trespass and theft after they tried to expose the alleged embezzlement of whale meat aboard Japan's main whaling ship, the Nisshin Maru. The two intercepted one of dozens of boxes of whale meat they say were sent illegally by the whaling crew to addresses across Japan. The authorities responded by ignoring the claims and launching a ferocious campaign against Greenpeace.
The court order, requested by the distributor, is a rare piece of good news for anti-whaling campaigners.
An Unplugged spokeswoman told the Japanese press that they demanded the ban after protesters targeted the company.
Last night an ultra-nationalist, Makoto Sakurai, promised no let up in his group's campaign. "It's full of lies and distortion of our culture by Westerners who hate Japan," he said. "We are right and we will continue."
Arsenal strengthened their grip on a top-four finish with a straightforward 3-0 win over Hull City.
Conquering Everest: 60 facts about the world's tallest mountain
The 10 best folding bikes
Not so Lonesome George: Researchers find 17 other tortoises in the Galapagos Islands similar to famous centenarian reptile
10 best hiking boots
Flower power takes hold again as gardeners rally round the endangered bumblebee
- 1 Easter egg hunt horror as mother finds dead body under deck of house
- 2 'Natural' energy drink banned for containing erectile dysfunction drug
- 3 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
- 4 Loch Ness Monster found on Apple Maps?
- 5 How We Met: Alison Moyet & Emma Kennedy: 'I knew we'd be friends because she was happy to make a prat of herself'
The food poverty scandal that shames Britain: Nearly 1m people rely on handouts to eat – and benefit reforms may be to blame
Scottish independence: It is the English who should be on their knees, begging the Scots to vote ‘No’
Nigel Farage fatigue? Half of voters ‘immune’ to Ukip’s appeal
'Sinful': Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy comes under attack
Nigel Farage: I’m taking on the status quo, and the Establishment’s fighting back
Refugee facing deportation from Sweden saved by fellow passengers refusing to let plane leave
£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is a company that specializ...
£153.75 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is an innovative outsourcin...
£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company has been providing on site ...
£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: We've been supplying best of breed peopl...