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Sunday, Jan. 16, 2011

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Whaling historian: Hayato Sakurai, curator of maritime history at the Taiji Whale Museum, speaks with reporters at the Foreign Press Center Japan in Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo, on Friday. MINORU MATSUTANI PHOTO

Of Taiji, activists know nil: curator


Staff writer

A curator of the Taiji Whale Museum on Friday criticized opponents of the town's dolphin slaughter for their lack of knowledge about Taiji, which was featured in the Oscar-winning documentary "The Cove."

"I am neutral (as to whether catching dolphins for human consumption and display in aquariums is right or wrong), but it is unfortunate the issue is discussed among people who don't know about Taiji and the people there," Hayato Sakurai, curator of maritime history at the museum in Wakayama Prefecture, said at the Foreign Press Center Japan in Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo.

Sakurai traveled to Tokyo to tell journalists about the history of whaling in Taiji.

"The question for Taiji and the world is how humans interact with whales. The answer belongs to the future and the new history it will create," said Sakurai, who worked for the New Bedford Whaling Museum in the U.S. until he moved to Taiji with his American wife in 2006.

When asked for his opinion about Taiji locals being less outspoken than those protesting the dolphin slaughter, he avoided answering directly, saying: "The situation is very complicated and political. I feel powerless in this very complicated situation."



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The Japan Times

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