Commentary by Paul Watson
Founder and President of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society

Sea Shepherd Conservation Society's Toxic Lunch Campaign to expose the horrific Japanese dolphin slaughter is making progress. The campaign, led by Allison Lance and Danielle Thompson, began on September 25, 2007 in Tokyo. They have been leafleting in Tokyo and taking their message to the Japanese Ministry of Health. The campaign, supported by Sea Shepherd Director and actress Persia White, has been picking away at the wall of Japanese censorship brick by brick, and it is making headway. Soon the hole will be widened enough that the Emperor himself will be able to peer inside and see how Japanese children are being slowly poisoned by being fed toxic dolphin meat containing dangerously high levels of methyl mercury.

Stories on the campaign have been making their way into various publications, including The Japan Times, a daily newspaper which is printed in English. Unfortunately, the Japanese media is so conditioned to covering up scandals in Japan that it has ignored the scandal of the toxic lunches and the horror of the dolphin death drives. Can they ignore this controversy much longer?

Every year some 22,000 dolphins are viciously slaughtered on Japanese beaches by fishermen wielding spears, knives, and clubs. It is one of the most barbaric and bloody spectacles on the planet, rivaled only by the equally brutal annual death drives of thousands of pilot whales in the Danish Faeroe Islands. Sea Shepherd brought the horror of the dolphin slaughter at Taiji to the light of the international media in October 2003, and ever since, Sea Shepherd has been at the forefront of the effort to shut down this criminal industry that is killing dolphins and Japanese children. It has been a long, protracted effort against a powerful and stubborn foe, an effort that has seen the murder of tens of thousands of gentle dolphins and the slow poisoning of thousands of children.

The Japanese government has ignored the issue, and the Japanese media has been complicit in covering up the scandal from the Japanese people. But Japanese people travel the world and are bringing back awareness of the killing from outside the nation. More and more Japanese citizens are becoming outraged that such a cruel massacre of dolphins is taking place on the shores of their own country and that children are being fed a toxic lunch of mercury-contaminated dolphin meat.

The mainstream Western media is revisiting the story with an article in this week's Time magazine entitled Postcard: Taiji.

Many Japanese business people and tourists will see this week's issue of Time magazine and ask themselves why they have to find out about this horrific scandal from foreign publications. How much longer can the Japanese media continue to ignore this story? How can any Japanese journalist live with the shame of doing nothing about this bloody activity that is taking place on Japanese beaches, Japanese bays running red with the hot blood of dolphins, and Japanese children being deliberately poisoned by their own government? Has Japanese journalism become so shallow that only government-sanctioned trivia can be reported as news, or are they restricted to reporting on scandals and violence only in other countries?

The failure of the Japanese media to inform the nation about the dolphin death drives and the poisoning of Japanese children is a disgrace to Japanese journalism and makes us wonder how they can even call themselves journalists. They should be called public relations lackeys for Tokyo, because that is what they are.

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