Go away… Nothing to see here

If a dolphin is murdered in Taiji and nobody sees it, is it still cruel and barbaric?
I am astounded at the lengths to which the Taiji town office are going to hide the dolphin slaughter. Whole sections of coastline, with beautiful walking trails and benches for the weary hiker, have been declared off limits to protect the murderers from observation and documentation.

20111108-220836.jpgbeautiful walking path and seats… Now off limits under threat of arrest

Headlands overlooking the cove from north and south have been demarcated into areas you can go (no view of the cove) and areas into which you can be arrested for entering. The demarcation is ugly and haphazard, consisting of rope, fishing nets, laminated signs (in English only) and anything the dolphin hunters had at hand. The town office has made a ruling that it is illegal to cross these barriers. Why??

20111108-221026.jpg look closely and you will see that this sign is attached to fishing net strung between the trees

There is a coast guard cutter(??) stationed off the cove to stop anybody from entering the area from offshore, and when the drive is on, small boats are lowered into the way to patrol the area. A detachment of four coast guard personnel patrol onshore in an unmarked car making sure nobody gets to any position where it is possible to view the cove.

20111108-221606.jpgcoast guard ship with small boat patrolling cove area

When it looks like a pod will be driven all the way to their deaths, a police RIB is sent from Taiji to the cove to patrol the cove and surrounding area prior to the dolphins arriving. The prefecture police are on call for the fishermen who call – and get instant response – if it looks like anybody is going to step over the handrails in the parks to get a better view. You can be arrested for crossing the handrail.

20111108-221746.jpgpolice check the cove as the hunters drive the dolphins in

A detachment of riot police are permanently stationed at the wharf, on 24 hour call for protective services for the fishermen. Once the dolphins are killed the riot police become security guards at all possible entrances to the butchering shed.
The only thing missing is an aerial patrol… Seriously

20111108-222301.jpg4(??) dead dolphins tail dragged from cove to butchers shed

20111108-222055.jpgbutchers shed.. Tarps are all set up while dolphins are slaughtered in the cove

20111108-221915.jpgdolphin passed under a tarp into the butchers shed

The hunters argue that this hunt is a cultural tradition. Why are the authorities so scared of people watching it and documenting it if it is part of the Japanese cultural heritage? Why is Japan so ashamed? And if they are so ashamed, why do they let it continue???


20111108-223246.jpgjust after receiving my warning for crossing the yellow line – you can just see it on the ground – could only get these few guys in shot, but from left to right.. Plain clothes policeman, prefecture (state) police, four uniformed local cops, riot policeman

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