BBC journalist documenting dolphin hunt, locked up in Japan

6 years ago by in Japan

BBC filmmaker Martyn Stewart who is shooting documentaries about the dolphin hunts in Taiji, was locked up in Japan, at Osaka airport, and was accused of “eco-terrorism”.

Stewart said the way he was treated was ‘nothing short of criminal’.

He posted on his Facebook account: “I am locked in a cell room at Osaka airport waiting on an appeal to the high minister regarding my entry into Japan. I am accused of being sea shepherd and an eco terrorist. My footage is not liked in Japan apparently and have been accused of assaulting members of the public.

“In 4 years of being here for the dolphins I have maintained the law and abided by their rules. My words and pictures did the rest. The government of Japan will do anything to protect the rights of the fishermen of Taiji and the barbaric treatment of the animals involved.

“Please share far and wide to bring awareness to this corrupt government and those that want to continue to brutally treat these amazing animals.”

Writing on his blog last year, he said: “What I learnt from these visits was that we (westerners) cannot stop this war on the oceans. Japan and most of its people have to end this and in some way, make them believe it was their idea. Pressure from outsiders only gets their goat and they become stubborn. I got the impression that if you tell the fishermen to end this atrocity, they tried harder to kill. They are now actually being blasé about the capturing and killing. Yes, tarpaulin is still being used heavily but they are not as vigilant in stopping people from seeing the odd dead dolphin or tail draped outside of the boats that carry the corpses to the butcher house anymore.”

Stewart went several times to Japan to film the dolphin hunting in Taiji.

Japanese fisherman defend the practice by saying the annual hunt is part of their tradition.