Story by Taylor Weik.
Yoko Ono, Japanese artist, peace activist and widow of Beatle John Lennon, wrote a letter to the Japanese fishermen of Taiji, who on Tuesday continued their controversial annual capture-and-kill of bottlenose dolphins.
Taiji, a rural whaling town in Japan, has been the focus of controversy recently for their infamous annual dolphin drive hunt, which takes place every year from September to April. Drive hunting involves corralling dolphins into coves, where they can be cornered and trapped, or killed. The practice has been highlighted in the 2009 Oscar-nominated documentary “The Cove,” which depicts graphic scenes of slowly dying dolphins and blood-stained ships and waters.
250 dolphins were driven into Taiji’s “killing cove” on Thursday, where they spent four days in a selection process. 52 dolphins were sold to marine parks and aquariums, while 40 more were slaughtered and sold to butchers. It is unclear what the fishermen plan to do with the rest of the corralled dolphins.
Ono voiced her opposition in a letter addressed to the Taiji fishermen on her website she shared with Lennon, Imagine Peace. In the letter, she pleads for the fishermen to think of the reputation of their country, and how killing dolphins will only portray Japan as a country of violence.
“I am sure that it is not easy, but please consider the safety of the future of Japan, surrounded by many powerful countries which are always looking for the chance to weaken the power of our country,” Ono writes. “The future of Japan and its safety depends on many situations, but what you do with Dolphins now can create a very bad relationship with the whole world.”
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga defended the practice during a news conference in Tokyo, stating that dolphin fishing “is a form of traditional fishing in our country.”