I was party to the Taiji Nov 2, 2010 meeting organization. I feel that sharing my
understanding this process will help more people be able to take responsibility to
help end the dolphin hunt in Japan.
The meeting between Taiji officials and Sea Shepherd was set up by Atsushi Nakahira,
of the Nihon Yonaoshikai in mid-October. After this, Save Japan Dolphins and The
Whaleman Foundation requested to attend. Nakahira accepted their request.
Nakahira runs a very small Japanese group (last week: only 2 members) dedicated to a
better Japan. It may SOUND right-wingish but the devil in the details shows that he
is as critical of dolphin activists as he is critical of Mayor Sangen.
In a very vocal, drive-my-truck-around-with-loud-speakers-blaring way, Nakahira is
critical of Mayor Sangen and Wakayama Gov. Nisaka for NOT engaging SSCS or SJD. At
least, he says, the two sides should talk to make their positions clear. Last time
SSCS when into Sangen's office building, Sangen was seen slipping out the back and
speeding away in his Mazda. He took public flak for this among Taiji residents.
and Steven Thompson in Taiji Oct 2010 -photo by Elora West
I have spoken at length with Nakahira many times. Several times in the last week and
three mornings ago, he woke me up at 6:45am, worried that people on "our side" (the
dolphin side) were not being upfront.
He told me that here were only two rules for the Nov 2 meeting. The first was for up
to three questions to be submitted in advance in English and Japanese. This, I
understand was done by SJD and SSCS. By the way, this was not done by Whaleman for strategic reasons and it wasn't actually a problem.
The second rule was that the principals: SSCS, SJD and Whaleman, to not record the
meeting, but let the news companies cover it. Talking at the Cove on October 10th,
Nakahira stated to me that he did not want this meeting to turn into a made for TV
special with activists dramatizing on purpose.
Whaleman agreed to these terms, and so did SSCS, I understand. I explained these
terms to them at Nakahira's request. I explained this message from Nakahira to Ric's
translator by telephone last week.
Nakahira states that he is pro-whale hunt, but clearly, he is not your typical
status quo reactionary.
For example, what he has against The Cove is that it shows Japanese kids eating
whale meat at school when these kids did not agree to be in his movie about
dolphins. This, Nakahira argues, is an invasion or their privacy. I don't know the background story. Louie would have to chime in, but Nakahira's point of view seems reasonable...especially reasonable from a Japanese point of view.
Another example of Nakahira's agenda: he is against the baby dolphin and pregnant female hunt. He is for ending it immediately and for the eventual drawdown of the hunt within 5 years.
This too is reasonable in my estimation...not acceptable to me because the deaths
continue...and I will protest in their faces until it stops...but reasonable from a
Japanese point of view when we consider this has been going on for a long time...the
political pressures are intense...this is a step in the right direction, I feel.
Nakahira isn't going away nor is Mayor Sangen anytime soon. Talking together with
Japanese in positions to make a difference is the only way to end this. I talk with
the union head, Sugimori, responsible for carrying out this horror, every time I go
to Taiji. I believe we should keep talking.
I believe we should not lose sight of the fact that the catalyst for this meeting is
the fact that SSCS has stood up to be in Taiji on the beach everyday. This is one of
our strongest pressure points. No meeting would have happened at all had SSCS NOT been there.
I support experimentation in our activism till we find a way closer to end the hunt.
I support transparency in our activism.
For us and the Cetaceans,