Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Arrival in Japan

By Ric O’Barry
Campaign Director
Save Japan Dolphins Campaign
Earth Island Institute

Tokyo, Tuesday, June 8: Just back from a film festival in Italy and still on jet lag, I hopped another flight to Tokyo, arriving tired and hungry, and afraid I might be turned away by immigration.

But surprisingly, they escorted me through a single lane away from everyone else and, after passing me through the biometric fingerprint and retinal scan, I was met by a horde of 30 police and a Japanese media blitz that surrounded me in a frenzy of TV and still cameras, lit up by scores of portable lights. Onlookers must have thought I was some kind of film celebrity, although in the past the Japanese media always ignored me. When asked about The Cove movie, I only said it was just entertainment, but I also mentioned that Japan's constitutional article 21 prohibits the censorship of an issue where the people have the right to know. After that I was quickly rescued by officials of Unplugged Inc, distributors of the Oscar-winning Cove documentary, who whisked me to their car bound for my hotel in Tokyo.

The officials told me that on Monday a total of 55 Japanese people, including journalists and filmmakers, harshly criticized theatre owners in Tokyo and Osaka for giving in to the demands of the nationalist activists to cancel screenings of the award-winning Cove documentary. The outraged group said the cancellations threaten freedom of expression.

Read the article here:

The Cove is still scheduled to be opened in more than 20 theatres later this month.

Tomorrow, June 9th, more media interviews are scheduled and the following day I'll be going to Wakayama University to get the reactions from many of the students there who viewed The Cove. Taiji is in Wakayama Prefecture, so their reaction will be very interesting.

All in all, we are off to a very good start in getting the truth out to the people of Japan about the dolphin slaughter. This will be the first chance the general public in Japan have the opportunity to view The Cove.

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