Sea Shepherd Leader Denied Entry Into Japan
Sea Shepherd Conservation Society’s Cove Guardian Lead and Campaign Director, Scott West has been denied entry into Japan. West sees it as an effort to prevent the actions of the Taiji Fishermen’s Union as they slaughter dolphins and small whales, from being exposed.
Upon trying to enter Japan to join Sea Shepherd’s Cove Guardians on the ground in Taiji, Scott West was detained by Immigration, held and interrogated for more than 4 hours. Following the questioning, Immigration denied him entry and released him to leave Japan and return home.
West was told that he is being denied entry on the basis that he would be photographing the Taiji fishermen against their wishes. It is not hard to see why the Taiji dolphin killers do not want to be photographed as they drive entire pods of dolphins and whales into the killing cove, where they tear their families apart to sell some for lives of slavery in captivity and brutally slaughter the others, he says. Traumatized dolphins and small whales swimming in the blood red waters of the Cove do not make an image that Japan wants the world to see.
Sea Shepherd’s Cove Guardians are regularly held and questioned by Japan Customs as to why they are seeking entry into the country. Some have been permitted to enter, while others are sent home.
“The dolphin killers and the government of Japan continue to claim that the hunt in Taiji is a long-held cultural tradition. The bottom line is that this barbaric “tradition” only started in 1969 when the captive dolphin industry started to grow, and the hunt continues for the same reason it began: greed. If this is a proud tradition, why is Japan trying so desperately to stop our Cove Guardians from showing it to the world?” said West.
The drive hunt and slaughter of thousands of dolphins, porpoises and small whales occurs throughout Japan each year. The most well-known among these annual hunts occurs in Taiji from September 1st and usually continues to March 1st of the following year. Sea Shepherd Conservation Society first brought Taiji’s killing Cove to the world’s attention by capturing and releasing now-iconic undercover footage and photos of the brutal captures and slaughters in 2003, revealing the blood-red waters of the Cove. Later the Academy Award-winning film “The Cove” again shone a spotlight on the hunts, bringing international attention to the dolphin killings. These dolphin hunts also used to occur in other parts of Japan, like Futo and Iki Island, but they have since ended. The continual mass slaughter left no more dolphins to be found. If the annual massacre of dolphins and whales in Taiji continues, they will vanish from the waters surrounding Taiji’s killing Cove, as well.