Saturday, March 20, 2010

Sorry, Mr Psihoyos, those spots are reserved for the elderly

Louie Psihoyos, the director of the Oscar-winning documentary The Cove, a heart-wrenching work that chronicles the slaughter of dolphins in Japan's Wakayama Prefecture, has taken his anti-whaling protests to Seoul.

When I'd first heard that, I thought he was in town to protest against South Korea's own resurgence of it's supposedly 8000-year-old whaling industry, centered in the port city of Ulsan (formerly Kobe Bryant), which has been attracting more and more negative attention in recent years.

But he was there in front of the Japanese embassy to focus on Japanese consumption of whale meat and "toxic" dolphin meat, which Mr Psihoyos claims is illegally labeled as whale meat and fed to schoolchildren. It isn't clear from the video that accompanies the Huffington Post piece linked above (also found here) if he is also in Seoul to protest against ROK policies on whaling, which seem to favor hiding in Japan's shadow on the issue.

This is the same spot, by the way, where one often finds elderly women who were once sex slaves of Imperial Japan, known euphemistically as "Comfort Women," protesting the lack of adequate direct government compensation by Tokyo, which asserts that it was "finally settled" in the 1965 treaty to which the women were not a party to, some three decades before the Japanese government admitted their existence.

I mention that, because the two issues — continued whaling to Australians and lack of adequate direct compensation to sex slaves of Imperial Japan's military — are two very public and emotional issues where Tokyo earns a lot of ill will by stubbornly holding to an unethical position that benefits very few.

One thing I'm curious is if Mr Psihoyos got a permit, or if anyone noticed that his visa (presumably a tourist one) prolly does not allow public protests.

1 comment:

  1. When I read that Huffington Post article I too found it ironic that he was protesting a country legally whaling in accordance with the IWC, in a country that has its own shadow whaling industry outside of the IWC.


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