Japan Is Deporting the Star of Dolphin Hunting Documentary 'The Cove'

Source: Getty Images
Source: Getty Images

After allegedly attempting to enter Japan on a tourist visa to protest dolphin hunting, the star of the Oscar-winning documentary The Cove is set to be deported from the country. Ric O'Barry, a 76-year-old American activist, has been detained since he landed in Tokyo's Narita airport Jan. 18. 

According to the Associated Press, Japanese immigration officials rejected O'Barry's lawyer's request for an appeal. The officials contend O'Barry lied during his questioning, when he told them he was visiting Japan purely as a tourist and not to rally against the country's dolphin culls. The Guardian reported that officials also accused him of having connections to Sea Shepherd, a U.K. marine conservation charity that has an ongoing campaign in Taiji, Japan.

Taiji was the focal point of 2009's The Cove, as it's the site of the annual dolphin hunt. In the documentary, O'Barry, a former dolphin trainer who worked on the TV show Flipper and later turned to conservation, according to the Guardian, joins forces with other activists to raise awareness about the government-approved tradition.

But while the Japanese government sanctions the annual killing of hundreds of bottlenose dolphins, the U.N.'s International Court of Justice ruled against the country's 2014 "research" excursion that would result in the slaughter of 333 whales every year for the next 12 years. Researchers ignored the order.

Japan continues to have a questionable record when it comes to its treatment of marine life of any kind, though according to a Guardian report from May, aquariums voted to ban the purchase of dolphins from Taiji to break their "unethical" ties with the town. 

O'Barry's true intentions for his attempted visit to Japan remain a mystery, but a quote on his website dolphinproject.net might speak for him: "If there is a dolphin in trouble anywhere in the world, my phone will ring." 

How likely are you to make Mic your go-to news source?

Marie Solis

Marie is a Slay staff writer with focuses in culture and class. Her writing has appeared in Gothamist and the Awl. You can reach her at marie@mic.com.

MORE FROM

Kshama Sawant on why Seattle needs an independent investigation into the Charleena Lyles shooting

Seattle City Councilperson Kshama Sawant, member of Socialist Alternative party, discusses the Charleena Lyles investigation, tenant voter registration, why Hillary Clinton lost in 2016 and more.

The EPA seeks to undo clean water rule, putting 117 million Americans' water at risk

The new rule could have "long-reaching consequences for everyone living in the United States.”

This small Ohio town might stop treating heroin overdoses to save the city money

"People will die. It's plain and simple."

Here's what New York's first official LGBTQ monument will look like

Here's our first look at New York's new monument to LGBT communities.

How will Trump's travel ban be enforced? Here's what the Supreme Court's decision really means.

The Supreme Court's order prevents most of the ban from taking effect before the case is heard, with limited exceptions.

Tick saliva could be the key to fighting a dangerous heart condition

Ticks could hold the secret to treating this heart condition.

Kshama Sawant on why Seattle needs an independent investigation into the Charleena Lyles shooting

Seattle City Councilperson Kshama Sawant, member of Socialist Alternative party, discusses the Charleena Lyles investigation, tenant voter registration, why Hillary Clinton lost in 2016 and more.

The EPA seeks to undo clean water rule, putting 117 million Americans' water at risk

The new rule could have "long-reaching consequences for everyone living in the United States.”

This small Ohio town might stop treating heroin overdoses to save the city money

"People will die. It's plain and simple."

Here's what New York's first official LGBTQ monument will look like

Here's our first look at New York's new monument to LGBT communities.

How will Trump's travel ban be enforced? Here's what the Supreme Court's decision really means.

The Supreme Court's order prevents most of the ban from taking effect before the case is heard, with limited exceptions.

Tick saliva could be the key to fighting a dangerous heart condition

Ticks could hold the secret to treating this heart condition.