The U.S. Ambassador to Japan, Caroline Kennedy, was invited by a senior official of the Taiji Fishermen’s Cooperative to watch the seasonal dolphin hunt for herself, after Kennedy has published last month, on her Twitter account, a disapproval statement regarding the annual dolphin hunt in the town of Taiji.
The senior official, Yoshifumi Kai, has defended the controversial tradition as painless to the small cetaceans.
“The method (of killing) causes them no pain,” said Kai. “We would like Ambassador Kennedy to come and visit to see the hunt for herself.”
Kai said fishermen in Taiji switched more than 10 years ago to a method that uses a 30-centimeter pick to kill them almost instantaneously, according to the international press.
On January 18, Kennedy posted on her Twitter account: “Deeply concerned by inhumaneness of drive hunt dolphin killing. USG (U.S. government) opposes drive hunt fisheries.”
During the annual Taiji dolphin hunt, around 1,000 marine mammals are herded into an enclosure, with a part of them being slaughtered for meat and others, better looking, being sold to aquariums.
The dolphin hunt in Taiji drew international attention after the release of the film “The Cove,” which documented the hunt and went on to win an Academy Award in 2010.
The footage showing the waters turning red as the fishermen harpooned the dolphins drew international criticism.