Every year, approximately 22,000 dolphins in Japan and small whales are cruelly slaughtered in the bays of numerous coastal towns. The most infamous of these places of death have names like Iki, Ito, Futo, Izu, and Taiji.

The dolphins are driven into small bays by fishing boats. They are trapped when a net is stretched across the mouth of the bay. The fishermen usually wound a few of the captives with a spear thrust or a knife slash to prevent the others from leaving their wounded family member behind. Some of the dolphins are segregated for sale to marine aquariums. The others are then killed with spears and knives, and sometimes by tying their tails together and hanging them into the water where they thrash about for up to ten minutes before drowning.

The Japanese fishermen are indiscriminate. They attack any species that approaches the coast including protected species. Sea Shepherd crew have witnessed the killing of striped dolphins, pilot whales and false killer whales. They also documented the killing of 13 endangered mellon-headed whales.

The dolphins are killed to be sold as meat in markets and restaurants. Whale and dolphin meat is big business in Japan despite the fact that the meat is heavily contaminated with mercury, PCB’s and other heavy metals. Eating dolphin and whale meat is literally poisoning the Japanese people who consume it.

The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society has been involved in opposing the Japanese dolphin slaughter since 1981 when Captain Paul Watson successfully negotiated a decade long cessation to the dolphin kills at Iki Island.

Since September and into December 2003, a Sea Shepherd team has been in Taiji, Japan, documenting the killing of the dolphins. In October, the images taken by Sea Shepherd shocked the world after being distributed worldwide by Associated Press. The fishermen and the Taiji police responded by making it illegal to document the killing. All of Sea Shepherd’s cameras were confiscated by the police.

On November 18, Sea Shepherd crewmembers Allison Lance-Watson of the USA and Alex Cornelissen of the Netherlands dove into the waters of Taiji Bay and cut the nets to free the dolphins. There were held for 23 days and released only after paying fines of $8,000 to protect the dolphins.

Approximately 20,000 dolphins are killed each year in round-ups like the one Sea Shepherd documented in Taiji. To voice your outrage, please contact the following Japanese government officials:

               Prime Minister of Japan
               Mr. Junichiro Koizumi,
               1-6-1 Nagata-cho 1 Chome
               Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo . 100-8968 Japan

               Minister of Fisheries
               Mr. Yoshiyuki Kamei
               1-2-1 Ksumigaseki 1 Chrome
               Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo. 100-8907 Japan
               Tel:+81-3-3502-8111. Fax: +81-3-3502-8220
               Email: White56@maff.go.jp

               Taiji Fishery Cooperative
               3167-7 Taiji
               Wakayama, 649-5171 Japan
               Tel: +81.735.59.3517 Fax: +81 735 59 3018
               Email: jf-taiji@rowan.cypress.ne.jp

               Mr. Yoshiki Kimura, the governor of Wakayama
               Prefectural Office of Wakayama
               1-1 Komatsubaradouri, Wakayama-shi
               Wakayama-ken, 640-8269 Japan
               Tel: +81-73-441-2034 Fax:+81-73-423-9500
               Email: e0006001@pref.wakayam.lg.jp

You can also send a donation to Sea Shepherd, who help in protecting our precious seas.


Prime Minister of Japan
Mr. Junichiro Koizumi,
1-6-1 Nagata-cho 1 Chome
Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo. 100-8968 Japan

Mr. Koizumi,

I am outraged by the recent slaughter of striped dolphins and Melon-head whales that has taken place in Taiji, Japan. The images of bloody red water clearly show the world that Japan has little respect for the state of the world’s oceans.

Many scientific studies show that the oceans are in decline. We must take whatever actions are necessary to stop their over-exploitation and to protect the creatures that live in them. Hunting dolphins is forbidden by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, of which Japan is a member. These dolphins do not belong to Japan, and it is an unthinkable waste that they will likely wind up as a canned meat product or deceptively sold as whale meat.

In addition, the methods used to kill these animals are cruel. Driving the dolphins into a cove, confusing them with sonar, and then spearing them, leaving them to slowly die is an inhumane method of fishing. This action is disgraceful and has caused much disappointment in the international community.

We demand that Japan permanently and immediately renounce this hunting practice. We also demand an apology for the hostile treatment toward the photographers who documented this slaughter. We will not travel to Japan, nor will we purchase any Japanese-made products until this fishing practice is completely abandoned.


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