Blog | A Letter to Taiji

A Letter to Taiji

August 31, 2015 by Mark Palmer, Save Japan Dolphins

By Mark J. Palmer
Associate Director
International Marine Mammal Project
Earth Island Institute

On July 27th, Earth Island’s International Marine Mammal Project sent the following letter to the government leaders of the town of Taiji.  The dolphin hunts in Taiji are scheduled to go forward this Tuesday, Sept. 1st, 2015.

Mr. Kazutaka Sangen, Mayor
Mr. Hisato Ryono, Council Member
Taiji-cho Town Hall

Dear Mayor Sangen and Council Member Ryono:

We hope you and the people of Taiji are doing well and enjoying the summer weather.

We would like to take this opportunity to again raise with you both the prospect of ending the Taiji dolphin hunts.  We believe we can help.
As we have offered in the past and will continue to offer, we believe we can provide the people and town of Taiji significant support to end the dolphin hunts and transition into eco-tourism and sustainable fishing practices that can provide jobs for your citizens and accolades around the globe for your ethics and bravery in ending the hunting of intelligent, social dolphins.

The future of Taiji dolphin hunts looks very poor:

• When Earth Island began our campaign to Save Japan Dolphins in 2004, about 1,600 dolphins were killed in Taiji.  Last season, about 750 were killed, a 47% decrease.  At least one species, the bottlenose dolphins, show signs of serious depletion.

• Through the documentary “The Cove”, millions of people around the world learned about the dolphin slaughter in Taiji.  We have presented 2.5 million signatures of people from all around the world to your government expressing support for ending the dolphin hunts.

• Due to the work of Save Japan Dolphins Campaign in concert with other organizations around the world, the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA), which has long had a policy condemning the dolphin hunts of Taiji and the purchase of live dolphins from the hunts by member aquariums, has at last required the Japan Association of Zoos and Aquariums (JAZA) member organizations to immediately stop all purchases of live dolphins from the Taiji hunts.

• Testing of mercury levels in dolphin meat continues to show dangerously elevated levels.  The dangers to consumers from mercury contamination of dolphin meat cause legitimate health concerns, as does the prospect of radiation contamination of dolphins from the disaster in Fukushima.  As more and more Japanese citizens learn of the mercury poisoning in dolphin meat, public consumption will continue to drop.



We have shown repeatedly what we can do for the dolphins.   Let us show you what we can do for Taiji and in support of the dolphins, with benefits to all your citizens.

We would be happy to meet with you or your representatives anytime to discuss options and concrete support Earth Island and our other colleagues can provide you.

Thank you for your consideration.

With respect and humility,

David Phillips, Director  

Mark J. Palmer, Associate Director


You can Help!  Consider a donation to support for our work to save dolphins in Taiji, Japan, and around the world.



拝啓 盛夏の候、三軒様、漁野様及び太地町の皆様におかれましては益々ご健勝のことと存じます。




• 2004年に我々アースアイランド研究所が“日本のイルカを救おう”キャンペーンを開始した際、太地町では約1600頭のイルカが殺されました。昨シーズンはその半分以下の750頭(47%)まで減少しています。少なくともバンドウイルカの捕獲数は深刻に減少しています。

• 映画「ザ・コーヴ」を通じて、世界中の人々が太地町のイルカ殺しを知りました。我々は、世界中から集まった250万人分の署名を日本政府に提出し、イルカ漁の停止を懇願しました。

• 世界動物園水族館協会(WAZA)は、貴町のイルカ追い込み漁そして加盟水族館との間で行われていたイルカの売買を長年非難してきましたが、“日本のイルカを救おう” キャンペーン活動や世界に散らばる他団体の努力がきっかけとなり、ついに日本動物園水族館協会(JAZA)の加盟団体に対し、貴町の追い込み漁で捕獲されたイルカの購入を直ちに止めるように命じました。

• イルカ肉に混入している水銀値は、引き続き検査結果で危険値を示しています。水銀、そして福島原発の影響で放射能にも汚染されている可能性のあるイルカ肉を消費者に提供することは危険であり、健康上の懸念が生じるのも当然です。イルカ肉による水銀中毒を耳にする日本人が増えていますので、公共消費は低下し続けるでしょう。







町長 三軒一高様 
議員 漁野尚登様


Photos of the Cove in Taiji and statue at the Taiji Whale Museum by Mark J. Palmer/Earth Island Institute.

Share |
A Letter to Taiji