Japan PM defends dolphin hunt

Tokyo - Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has defended Japan's dolphin hunting and asked the world to understand that the controversial tradition is part of its culture and financially supports fishing communities.

The annual catch, in which residents of Taiji village corral hundreds of dolphins into a secluded bay and kill them, sparked renewed global criticism after US ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy tweeted her concern earlier this month at the "inhumaneness" of the hunt.

But Abe defended the traditional catch.

"The dolphin fishing that takes place in Taiji town is an ancient fishing practice rooted in their culture... and supports their livelihoods," he told CNN in an interview uploaded onto the broadcaster's Japanese website late on Friday.

"We hope you will understand this," he added, noting that he was aware of criticism of the hunt.

"In every country and region, there are practices and ways of living and culture that have been handed down from ancestors," the premier added. "Naturally, I feel that these should be respected."

Activists from the international militant environmental group Sea Shepherd have streamed live footage of the dolphin capture in Taiji, which caught the worldwide spotlight in 2010 when it became the subject of the Academy Award-winning documentary The Cove.

Defenders of the hunt say it is a tradition and point out that the animals it targets are not endangered, a position echoed by the Japanese government.

They say Western objections are hypocritical and ignore the vastly larger number of cows, pigs and sheep butchered to satisfy demand elsewhere.
We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
Zama zama crackdown: What are your thoughts on West Village residents taking the law into their own hands?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Authorities should bring in the army already
10% - 1065 votes
Illegal miners can't be scapegoated for all crime
51% - 5316 votes
What else did we expect without no proper policing
36% - 3768 votes
Vigilante groups are also part of the problem
3% - 361 votes
Vote
Rand - Dollar
16.26
-0.3%
Rand - Pound
19.86
-0.3%
Rand - Euro
16.78
-0.5%
Rand - Aus dollar
11.53
-0.4%
Rand - Yen
0.12
-0.5%
Gold
1,786.47
-0.3%
Silver
20.41
-0.9%
Palladium
2,257.50
+0.1%
Platinum
958.50
+1.3%
Brent Crude
97.40
+1.1%
Top 40
63,759
+1.0%
All Share
70,419
+1.0%
Resource 10
65,093
+0.9%
Industrial 25
85,685
+1.2%
Financial 15
15,832
+0.5%
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.

LEARN MORE