Taiji dolphins

I'm writing about the article on the dolphin slaughter in Taiji, Japan that appeared in issue 17. I've lived here in Japan for the last 20 years and have run up against the Japanese attitude towards killing whales since day 1.

I am a lecturer at a university here and from time to time I bring up the issue in my classes to see if attitudes have changed. I showed one class of Japanese freshmen the photos from Sea Shepherd's site and was shocked to find that they were shocked. I was pleased to get questions like "Who eats dolphins?" and "Why are they doing that?"

The Sea Shepherd article is correct in that very few people here know about what is happening. I applaud their efforts to show the world what is going on there. On the other hand, I think fighting with the local fishermen is not a productive way to rescue those dolphins and stop the killing permanently. It only serves to widen the rift and cement opinions. Since the killing of dolphins for Japanese fishermen is primarily financial issue (I think the right wing in Japan may feel that it's also a patriotic issue), I feel that the $8,000 the two activists were fined would have been better used to "buy" the dolphins. I've read that fishermen receive $500 - $1000 dollars per carcass. They could have saved 8 to 16 dolphins with that money.

Sending emails in English and stirring up anger will do little. Sending buyers ready to pay twice or three times the price will change minds in a hurry. It certainly won't be as easy as that. Experience has taught me that doing anything in Japan is rarely easy. But money talks. A worldwide fundraising campaign to buy the dolphins will go far to change minds here and insure that these fishermen can still make a living. Almost no one eats whale or dolphin

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