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Taiji mayor defends dolphin hunts

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Isn't about time to stop inventing reasons that make it OK to kill off dolphins and whales ? There are no more reasons ... and were never very many in the first place.

There are other tasty and nutritious critters that can be bred in mass quantities and sold for far less money than whale or dolphin ... chickens and turkeys come to mind ... and aquaculture of fast-growing fish has become a big business now.

Dolphins can sometimes be a nuisance to open-water fishermen, but in truth their numbers are too small to put any REAL dent in the catches. Netted aquaculture areas are going to be immune to hungry dolphins anyway.

So, just leave them alone.

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As long as they are not an endangered species it should be okay. I mean its up to them if they want to eat dolphin, though they contain high levels of mercury. I think the cute factor is what drives most activist to protecting dolphins.

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glycol - Its time to stop inventing reasons why its NOT okay to kill dolphins and wales.

Apart from people thinking its "bad" or "wrong" I have still not been able to find a reason why the people of Taiji should not.

I feel so bad for these people - no wonder they hate foreigners coming in and criticizing everything they do. I would too if I was them.

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Very well written article in my Opinion.

Not sure why all the focus is on Taiji and no other places that hunt Dolphin in Japan or anywhere else for that matter.

Besides the high level of mercury contents I see no reason not to hunt and eat Dolphins. Same could be said for shark(some species who are close to extinction now, etc).

Actually the high level of Dolphin intelligence is under scrutiny as it is now assumed that some of what been described as "intelligence" before is not so. Some Ferrets been prooven to more intelligent than dolphins.

I think too many people still got images of "Flipper" in their minds, which actually represented Doplhins very different from what they are.

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I'm somewhat interested in visiting the town, just to see what it's like. But as a "Western white person", I'm afraid I'd be targeted as a protester.

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A friend been there and said it is a very nice place. If you do visit do it outside the hunting season though.

Don't think they will target you.

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Nice PR FAIL. When the Uyoku dantai are in your corner, you've got a problem which just makes the dialog even worse.

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Here we go again.

“So we are not going to change our plans for the town based on the criticism of foreigners.”

Heaven help they would ever listen to the opinions of 'outsiders'. Read - We are a part of nobody's community but our own.

"This was the birthplace of Japanese whaling in the 1600s" and "Taiji residents also carry their history in their last names, which many Japanese adopted in the 1870s, usually based on their occupation."

My name is too. So what? My family long stopped that practice, but the family is still going along just fine, several hundred years later. Just because something was or is a historical act does not exclude it from being bad practice, or something that eventually needs to be phased out because it is no longer feasible in a modern social or environmental context. The Taiji fishermen do not cultivate one ounce of sympathy in me, but in order for it to be fair on them, the Japanese government needs to put a blanket ban on dolphin hunting. We don't live in the middle ages any more.

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Descendants of harpooners are named SEIKO

Now there is a reason for environmentalist not to buy Japanese watches.

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Taiji residents also carry their history in their last names,

Many residents all over the world carry their history in their last names. But I don't think Margaret Thatcher ever climbed up on a roof. I often find this kind of statement in student debates and I always have to ask what is the relevance.

We have a strong sense of pride about this

This is what the argument is all about. They're proud of their dolphin slaughter.

While dolphins can be playmates, they are primarily seen as big game animals, a perception many foreigners find difficult to stomach.

To lump everyone who was not born in Japan as of one mind does a disservice to everyone; I'm sure some people in other countries enjoy eating dolphin and some Japanese may be turned off by the idea.

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Twenty-five percent of the townspeople still are named Ryono

No wonder they've got high mercury levels in their blood! Have the city officials done a survey to see how many fingers these folk have?

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a well written article..

also, the uyoku comment above is valid. while their hearts may very well be in the right place, the methods they use to communicate their ideas are archaic and ineffective, to say the least.

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Tradition is fine if it has a meaning to the modern world.

Tradition for tradition's sake is just unthinking idiocy.

Even CJ Nichols, a supporter of Japanese whaling and a former fisheries inspector dislikes the Taiji cull for its lack of respect for the animals.

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Why don't they invite those children in innner tubes back to the cove for the "hunt" in two weeks. Think there'll be squeals of surprise and delight?

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Anyone can go to Taiji, not like the village is off-limits or controlled by a military or in a war-zone.

Said I heard that there is no accomodation for vistors in the village and most people stay in surroundings areas.

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"Why don't they invite those children in innner tubes back to the cove for the "hunt" in two weeks. Think there'll be squeals of surprise and delight?"

Moderator: This comment relates directly to the article. How is it off topic?

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As long as cephalopods are not protected which, by the way, are even more intelligent, hunting dolphins shouldn't be a problem either.

Besides, protecting animals purely because of their intel level is absurd and discriminatory towards other animals. Either kill them all or kill none. All animals should be set free and having pets should be banned too.

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Taijis mayor is so foolish. He wants to destroy the wild life and feed it to innocent children even though the mercury levels are high in these animals. He doesnt give a dam about the consequences of his actions. All he care about is money. I think he should not be mayor because he is not serious thinking about the health of the people that are around him. what is taking place in Taiji is very cruel and very evil. I hope he will one day be put behind bars to never be let out again. People like him should not be roaming around on the streets.

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If there would be no demand, there would be no hunt. "The cove" itself claims that the killing is a side product of the demand for new show dolphins created by this entertainment industry.

Most customers are white smug bourgeoisie people who claim to protect the earth and want to show the marine world to their little ones in these "Seaworlds" all around the world.

This double standard and lack of understanding the impact of ones actions is sickening.

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paulinusa at 09:17 AM JST - 24th August "Why don't they invite those children in innner tubes back to the cove >for the "hunt" in two weeks. Think there'll be squeals of surprise and >delight?"

Probably for the same reasons that back here they don't invite the kids from the petting zoos or country fairs into the slaughterhouse afterwards.

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“We will pass down the history of our ancestors to the next generation, preserve it. We have a strong sense of pride about this,” Mayor Kazutaka Sangen told The Associated Press in an exclusive interview.

Then what about the tradition that it is bad luck to kill, pregnant females, calves or lactating mothers? This was a HUGE part of the traditon, yet today they do not follow these same traditions & then use 'tradition' as the argument to continue it!

"The fishermen who try to block the film crew are presented as rough goons."

Here is footage of these same men physically assulting someone who not doing anything wrong;

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vuxB1LYU57I

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kyoken;"Most customers are white smug bourgeoisie people who claim to protect the earth and want to show the marine world to their little ones in these "Seaworlds" all around the world."

Japan has more "SeaWorlds" than any other nation, 36, the US has 32, & no longer allows the capture of dolphins for shows, nor the import of them.

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OssanAmerica: Do slaughterhouses run petting zoos?

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Ok, let me phrase it this way: Do slaughterhouses(the Taiji dolphin hunt) invite children to admire the animals(dolphins) before killing them two weeks later?

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They ain't gonna stop no matter what you say, so why bother protesting? Besides, you are actually helping out the economy of Taiji directly through any purchases you make in the region and indirectly by keeping them on everyone's mind.

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"The fishermen who try to block the film crew are presented as rough goons." I'd say the portrayal was accurate. The film crew did nothing but film the Japanese fishermen being themselves. It was not scripted, it was 100% natural so if they appear as goons maybe it's because they were!

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Nuckinfutz.

Or because they were fed up with the crew, the crew asked for permission and was told "NO"(multiple times), yet they still came snuck in and filmed happily away.

In short the crew was filming WITHOUT permission(not sure what or who gave them the right to do so).

Try the same stunt in the USA, etc and they will end up in jail.

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the crew was filming WITHOUT permission

What permission is needed to film out in the open, in a place that is not 'off-limits or controlled by a military or in a war-zone'?

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Ask your daughter.

Like there is a law in japan the prohibits you from taking a photo or film of someone and using it publicly without their permission, etc. Same for most countries.

Heck try to take a picture of a goverment building, etc in the states and many other places now.

Plus, it is just good manners good manners when told not to do it to abstain. And they were told by the local goverment NOT to do it.

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These Japanese people are just a bunch of idiots who dont think about nothing but themselves. They dont care about who they are hurting, all they care about is making money. Their children are slowly getting sick from eating dolphin meat with high mercury levels and they dont give a dam.. What does that tell you??? For me it says that these fishermen are selfish idiots or you can say goons who are only into themselves. Lets see what will happen when these kids reaches adulthood and see what will happen to their brains. Maybe they will all be walking around like a bunch of zombies twitching all day long. So sad..

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How can people raise children in that kind of environment? When the waters run red and animals lay on the street, alive but cut open with their innards exposed for all of the little children to see, what kinds of adults are they going to become? That's the worst tragedy of all.

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If dolphins were so smart, they'd stay away from Taiji.

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Hermoine, the animals don't 'lay on the street, alive but cut open for all the little children to see'....... that's a fair exaggeration there I't doesn't necessarily make it better, nor am I defending it, but its all done in secret away from the public eye

Zenny 11, they were filming on public property, what they were doing at the time was perfectly legal (to the best of my understanding of the law, correct me if I'm wrong). The Japanese guy was also filming the film crew anyway, and I didnt see any of the activists get shirty with him about it......

Anyway, its not the dolphin meat being sold for $10 a pound thats keeping these guys in their jobs, its the 100's of thousands of dollars being paid for the live ones buy aquariums all around the world that are lining these guys pockets.....

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maninjapan79.

The filming was ILLEGAL according to legal sources in Japan. And agree the real profit is in the life animals.

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If you want to see how something like this happens in the open just search "faroe islands whaling".

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“So we are not going to change our plans for the town based on the criticism of foreigners.”

I applaud him.

The filming of the Cove was illegal and there need to be charges pressed.

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If dolphins were so smart, they'd stay away from Taiji

Thanks for the laugh. But seriously, I wonder if the people living in Taiji have developed an immunity to mercury. I mean, they eat dangerous dolphin meat all the time and have been doing it for many generations, right?

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'Tradition for tradition's sake is just unthinking idiocy.'--Totally agree with this comment. This isn't 400 years ago. It's now. And in 2010 we have scientific evidence that shows that dolphins are very intelligent animals. It's cruel to make any animal suffer but how can anyone kill another animal when they know this animal could possibly be thinking thoughts similar to ours?

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Doplhingirl.

Those are NOT the "Flipper" or "Lassie" you grew up with.

They are NOT that intelligent, btw you can't teach a truly intelligent animal to do tricks on command unless it wants to do them.

A cow is way more intelligent than a horse hence why we don't ride them.

As far as Doplhins think similar thoughts to humans they do, many diver been accosted by dolphins for sex(forcibly) they also gang-rape females.

Very intelligent and friendly creatures. Not so and new/current studies rate their intelligence lower than was assumed previously.

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Zenny, Illegal for using the film without permission right? If the act of filming alone was illegal they should have been arrested on the spot.

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Trivial details. Illegal is Illegal.

If I tell you DON'T don't take a vid of an off-limit area and you do it is ILLEGAL.

No matter of your moral justification will make it legal.

NO is NO in legal terms.

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I think many people are missing one of the main points here : it's the way the dolphins are being killed. If they want to kill animals, fine go for it, but as a neutral observer the method being used here looks totally barbaric to me.

Second, to Zenny11's comment above : What is the "off limit' area you are referring to? Taiji is not off limits.

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Everyone hates them. They don't care if they are hated. So...hate them some more. The Cove commercialized the hate. Gotta hate that.

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@Zenny11

*

They are NOT that intelligent, btw you can't teach a truly intelligent animal to do tricks on command unless it wants to do them.*

Then wouldn't that make the animal intelligent per say?

I'm going to go out on a limb with this one. I agree with almost most of the comments from everyone and certainly how can you not get emotional watching all that killing and screaming, I am totally against this barbarism, however, this is a very serious and sensitive issue on both sides and no matter what, both sides will never come to a middle ground on this and come together and sing Kumbaya! Japanese feel that Westerns are selfish, eating cows, pigs and chickens who the hell are we to judge. Murder is murder. What makes a whale different from a Lamb? We have an emotional attachment to animals that are cute, therefore, the Japanese don't have the right to hunt, kill and eat the whale by our standards. For many Japanese that is very hypocritical in their eyes. As Westerns, we feel that the way they kill the animal is wrong and all animals have rights. The Japanese are barbaric for defying the international community for their right to hunt whales being insensitive and heartless. I had dinner with a friend of mine a week ago and she had asked me if I watched "The Cove" and she laughed and said, "I didn't see it, but I know the movie is full of fabricated lies and that whale meat tastes good and is perfectly safe to eat." Many Japanese don't want to know the truth and or don't want to accept the facts, in that case, nothing you can do, because they DON'T WANT to see it your way because to them it is all about being morally and ethically selective. If you want to kill a cow and justify that it is ok, but killing Flipper? Now that is a cute pet. Bottom line is; most Japanese will always think that the west is forcing them to give up their culture, therefore, they have to be defiant and push back. Its the "us vs. them" mentality. There is a movement throughout Japan to make sure that the movie is not screened, the Far-right are going around staging protests around theaters and threatening violence to anyone that shows the movie. Many Japanese movie critics think the movie is totally anti-Japanese and makes Japanese look like the villains. Of course they want to keep the public blind, it would totally shut these guys down if more people were aware of what is going on in Taiji.

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As Westerns, we feel that the way they kill the animal is wrong and all animals have rights.

Westerns fell that "all animals have rights"??? C'mon now.

Many Japanese don't want to know the truth and or don't want to accept the facts, in that case, nothing you can do, because they DON'T WANT to see it your way because to them it is all about being morally and ethically selective.

Why would any human being want to see animal get slaughtered whether they are dolphins/whales or a typical slaughterhouse?

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It's cruel to make any animal suffer but how can anyone kill another animal when they know this animal could possibly be thinking thoughts similar to ours?

And yet humans kill humans too.

If you don't like to watch it, then don't look at it. If you don't want to eat then, then don't eat it. Dolphins are not an edangered species, why should Taiji stop a tradition because of what people from other countries think? I've said it many times before, I love dolphins and cringed at the video footage whan I saw it. But what they do in Taili is thier right and why should they change thier ways becasue of what I think.

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@dolphingirl

'Tradition for tradition's sake is just unthinking idiocy.'--Totally agree with this comment. This isn't 400 years ago. It's now. And in 2010 we have scientific evidence that shows that dolphins are very intelligent animals. It's cruel to make any animal suffer but how can anyone kill another animal when they know this animal could possibly be thinking thoughts similar to ours?

I agree with you totally dolphingirl, but sadly and I am really frustrated to admit this, but Gurukun has a point as much as I want to believe he's wrong, he's right, I mean who are we to say what the Japanese can and cannot do? Your argument is an emotional argument, well taken, but for the Japanese, it doesn't hold water. They can come out and say the same thing, how we can slaughter farm animals and to play devils advocate, have you ever seen how cows are put down? How about Chickens or Pigs? No one ever wants to talk about that. Imagine if Japan went on a campaign telling the west, we need to halt all killings of farm animals. We would laugh right in their faces, how is this different? But believe me, I understand your feeling, I am just saying this problem needs to come to a middle ground on both sides have a serious dialogue and come up with a solution where both sides will be satisfied, because the Japanese will always throw you the bird when it comes to compromising on this highly volatile issue.

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They claim they are doing for 'tradition', when did the 'tradition' of selling live animals to captive marine parks start? Because this is what is actually funding the hunts. At the same time it was 'tradition' to have slaves in America previously, it was 'tradition' to use Asian migrants to work in mines & manual backbreaking labor in both the US & Australia, it was 'tradition' to feed the christians to the lions in Greece, are these 'traditions' continued today just for the sake of 'tradition'? Just as European countries were hunting whales centuries before Japanese, but they have realise it is barbaric & no longer necessary, maybe it is time for Taiji residents to do the same, just as they have with their whale parade, I am sure it was not a motorised whale used centuries ago...

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Zenny11;"Like there is a law in japan the prohibits you from taking a photo or film of someone and using it publicly without their permission"

Then maybe you should also tell that to the hunters who follow these people around filming them, you cannot have one rule for one group & not for the other side. Do the ICR ask permission from SSCS & Greenpeace crews to post the video shot of them from Japanese boats on the internet?

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KeikoTokyo.

Read the Law, use your head and the answer will come crystal clear.

Sorry, but your arguments are getting weaker and weaker with every post.

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@KeikoTokyo

Just as European countries were hunting whales centuries before Japanese, but they have realise it is barbaric & no longer necessary, maybe it is time for Taiji residents to do the same, just as they have with their whale parade, I am sure it was not a motorised whale used centuries ago...

But Japan is whole different ball game and the rules are totally different. Change is slow in Japan and Japanese don't like being pushed, especially from Westerners. The more we push, the less Japan will listen, I think we all know this. Japan is playing hardball and they know this issue drives Westerners nuts. So there needs to be a smarter approach to this, but shouting, yelling trying to rationalize is all futile, because you can't debate this issue being emotional on both sides. Because the Japanese will look at it as bullying exerting Western dominance. Japan is a country that doesn't embrace quick change, Japanese like to analyze and see if the change is beneficial towards their needs and social and economic conditions.

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"... this issue drives Westerners nuts. So there needs to be a smarter approach to this"

Western anti-whalers are only so smart though... tough situation huh.

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So exactly how long has the 'tradition' of chasing dolphins in motorised boats banging metal poles been going on? For centuries if you believe davidattokyo's propaganda! How long has the 'tradition' of slaughtering pregnant females, babies, & lactating mothers been going on? Because all I have seen & read on the subject this is exactly the opposite of the Taiji whale hunters tradition, & it brings bad luck by their own beliefs. So what 'traditions' are they defending again?

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KeikoTokyo.

How about the differentiate between a "Hunt" being traditional and a "Hunting method" being traditional.

We still cook century old(traditional) dishes but we do so on modern equipment.

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Zenny11, that still does not explain or give a reason why they no longer follow their beliefs & traditions on not hunting pregnant females, babies, or lactating mothers as this brings bad luck does it...

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KeikoTokyo.

I can't answer that ask the people in Taiji.

Traditions and how they are upheld and practiced keep changing constantly and been doing so for Millenia.

Very few traditions are today practiced the same way or even for the same reason as they were over the ages.

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The Mayor of Taiji can try to defend the barbaric way the dolphins are killed all he likes. It wont wash on the international community, not just "Westerners." The Japanese have a massive inferiority complex, and also a massive superiority complex, at the same time. Of course they wont listen to outsiders. They never have, and never will. They are a law unto themselves, and view their culture and their traditions as "unique." The resat of the civilised world just views this as barbarism.

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I agree realist, but to convey that to the Japanese you are just spinning your wheels. They can come right back at you and say, so why we don't stop to barbarically kill cows or chicken, life is life, "but you westerns want to be selective as to what life is cruel to kill and what life is acceptable to let live." with that kind of argument, it will never win the Japanese over. I hear this all the time and they will never understand our position and we will never understand theirs. We need to come to a common ground discuss and try to educate them as to why this is a bad thing, but to say "you are wrong!" doesn't help when dealing with the Japanese and we all know the Japanese hate to be pointed out, scrutinized and attacked like that. Their mindset is totally different and not subject to change under heavy pressure.

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Local fishermen decline comment, saying their words have too often been twisted by foreign reporters

When I went there, there was a foreign journalist from Tokyo. We were both talking with the local whaling head honcho, sorry I forget his title but this was a while ago) Anyway, I went there to listen objectively to what they had to say. I was with a foreign friend who lived there and knew more about what really went on than people from out of town.

The "journalist" could not wait to get back home and you could tell from his face that there was a problem. Unsurprisingly, he completely miswrote everything that was said, in the most negative way possible.

Face it - the press have an agenda. They pretty well know what they will write before the interview. Even if they individually have their own scruples, they have to toe the line back at work. Don't believe everything you read.

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@ReformedBasher

Face it - the press have an agenda. They pretty well know what they will write before the interview. Even if they individually have their own scruples, they have to toe the line back at work. Don't believe everything you read.

But that goes both ways because there is also a lack of transparency on the part of the "fishermen" and the tactics they use, because if not, then why all the secrecy? What's up with that? Not to mention that when debating the issue they can't handle any criticism and don't want to answer any questions to the media. I work for the media and as such, most do ask legitimate questions and in this case, quite valid. Point is, if the fishermen really believe in what they are doing is right, then why all must everything be shrouded and hidden from public view. The fishermen also have an agenda.

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We all know the Japanese hate to be pointed out, scrutinized and attacked like that. Their mindset is totally different and not subject to change under heavy pressure.

Simple-minded people if you ask me. (anybody asking?/smile).

But on the other hand they LOVE to tell you about THEIR opinions. "Don't ride your motorcycle against the one way traffic by the river" (a narrow road) on the way to the gym. a man yelled out to me this a.m. in the parking lot after practice. I don't know when he might have seen me doing such a thing, as I go there daily, but I can't count the numbers of times I'Ve almost hit J-people riding on the wrong side of the street against traffic and not giving way as you approach on YOUR bike. Talking about men, women and children on this issue, so they feel instinctively its O.K., maybe essential since yes there are no sidewalks and the roads are too narrow. So I had to laugh when the guy called me out. "O.K. I'll be careful next time Tansaibo Ichiro" I responded.

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By the way, the above one-way road by the river is almost always under consruction and both sides of the river are used for traffic coming both ways. Sounds confusing I know, but that's exactly what it is. Take what you can get is the attitude while on it. But concerning the other people riding against traffic, it happens on ALL other roads, and especially when you least suspect it (around a turn, at a non-signalled intersection etc.). So I always drive under the speed limit not allowing trouble to suddenly appear. Concerning the Taiji mayor defending the dolphin hunts, he might want to consider saving his elementary school children from eating the mercury-high infested meat......preventing trouble......but maybe not?

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Why is the mayor of Taiji, Japan defending the dolphin hunts? Is it because the community he is a leader of is undereducated? Is it because he is attempting to Save Face as a result of their community Being Made Wrong?? To help us better understand the reasons for the refusal to change, there is a definite lack of higher education in that remote region of Japan. There is apparently a lack of a high school or university to help educate the people about helpful & better information that many educated people take for granted. How does great information reach undereducated and prideful people? The same way it has already been done - with respect. Here is another good point to bring up. It is easy to act tough when you lack knowledge, so a main question to ask is "Why should the people of Taiji care about saving the lives of Dolphins?" Here is one good reason why. This is a great opportunity for the people of Taiji to receive and accept insightful information that could save their saves too. The people of the World who care the most about saving Dolphins care about the People of Taiji too. The next question to ask is "What help does Taiji need to make a new and different living that still gives the people there a purpose and a reason to celebrate? Education! Education is a major way to create a living for a community. I already understand that pearls provide an income there, but what about installing a high school and college that would provide jobs in construction, education, school administration, transportation and more? What about a technical college that teaches great information about how to manage a great pearl business? Ideas like these have probably already been thought of by the members of Taiji and their Friends. So Best of Luck Taiji. It is up to You to take hold of this great opportunity to improve your own lives. DM

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Please accept a correction. This will help create a better understanding of what I wrote. There is a typo in the sentence, "This is a great opportunity for the people of Taiji to receive and accept insightful information that could save their saves too." The last words in that sentence should read, "...insightful information that could save their lives and community too." Thank you for accepting this correction. DM

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