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'Each time we return to Taiji, the dolphin hunters are a little bit more angry than the last time'

Information: Ric O'Barry

TAIJI UPDATE: September,14, 2007

Each time we return to Taiji, the dolphin hunters are a little bit more angry than the last time we saw them. This is because we are exposing their crimes against nature on a huge international scale. We are also exposing the fact that the dolphin meat they sell to the Japanese public is poison. Some of the Taiji Town councilmen who monitor our website didn't believe our blogs about the dolphin meat containing high levels of mercury. They tested the meat themselves. "The results were shocking," they reported to the Japan Times and other international media outlets at a Tokyo press conference on September 3, 2007.

Of course the dolphin hunters are angry. They now see the demand for contaminated dolphin meat being in jeopardy -- a measure of our success.

The people of Taiji Town and elsewhere in Japan are finally learning the truth. They know the dolphin meat from Taiji is contaminated with high levels of mercury. This news does not make the Taiji dolphin hunters very happy, and they are reacting with violence. They associate this international exposure with Westerners

Nigel Barker is an Australian resident living in Taiji with his lovely Japanese wife and their infant child. They are not animal rights activists. From time to time Nigel will share information with us about what's going on in Taiji, such as if the 13 drive boats are in port or have gone out to sea. He'll let us know if they drove dolphins into the killing cove and how many. He is very careful not to break the rules imposed by the Taiji dolphin hunters, as he loves Japan and wants to stay on the right side of the law. Nigel is a gentle soul who is very sensitive to Japanese tradition and culture. He is not campaigning against the dolphin slaughter -- he just happens to be living in a place where it's taking place.

We are now being told that Nigel was physically attacked yesterday by some of the fishermen. He said the attack came from Kazutoyo Simetani and Kaiyoshi Humi. Mr. Humi tried to take Nigel's camera away from him. Mr. Humi is the owner of the Gyoko grocery store in Taiji, which continues to sell mercury tainted dolphin meat in spite of the Kan Nyu Dai 99 Ban, established July 23, 1973, under which a warning was issued to prefectural and local governments by the then director of the environmental and health agency, stating that mercury in seafood must not exceed the advisory level of 0.4 ppm. Makoto Tanaka, who is assistant director of inspection and safety for health ministry, does not enforce the ban. Neither does Mashiko Tamaki, the so- called enforcement officer for Wakayama Prefecture.

I don't know Mr. Humi very well, but I do know Kazutoyo Simetani. His uncle reportedly owns the Simetani Co. in Taiji. That's the wholesale company that sells the toxic dolphin meat to retailers throughout Japan.

Since we never knew any of the Taiji dolphin hunters by their proper names, we gave them nick-names. We call Kazutoyo Simetani "Private Space" because he always gets in our face, nose to nose and toes to toes with his sign that reads "NO PHOTOS!" and screams at the top of his lungs: PRIVATE SPACE! PRIVATE SPACE! Apparently, these are the only words he knows in English. What he really means of course is, "Private Property." Whenever we show up at the killing cove or the slaughter house, he is there with his sign and small video camera. He stalks us all day long even though stalking is a serious crime in Japan. He have video documentation of Private Space chasing us through the streets of Taiji and all the way north to Shingu in his white Nissan Fairlane. In my opinion, he's the most zealous of the Taiji dolphin hunters and thus the most dangerous.

Nigel's wife was also threatened by five dolphin hunters as she was walking on the side of the road with her baby yesterday. The five men shouted obscenities and threatened her.

Nigel tried to file a formal complaint against Kazutoyo Simetani, Kaiyoshi Humi, and their five comrades, but the Shingu police officer, Kazuhiro Sasaki, told Nigel that the incident was his own fault and refused to take the formal complaint.

Nigel is leaving Japan and returning to Australia soon. It's just not safe in Taiji any more.

-- ric

Help Save Japan's Dolphins

Source: Save the Dolphins
Author: SaveJapanDolphins

Date: 2007-09-17


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German Agriculture Minister Aigner and FAO head Graziano da Silva urge international community to develop principles for responsible investments
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