Wakayama District Court Judge rules in Life Investigation Agency’s favor.
WAKAYAMA, Wakayama Prefecture, September 29, 2023: In a ruling by Wakayama District Court Judge Ayako Takahashi, a decision made by the Town of Taiji not to disclose information relating to the dolphin drive hunts, has been deemed illegal.
On April 22, 2022, Ren Yabuki, Director of Life Investigation Agency, in conjunction with Dolphin Project filed a lawsuit against the Town of Taiji over the redaction of information from public documents related to the handling of cetaceans. The lawsuit sought access to all documentation connected to the drive hunts, including:
- sales contracts and invoices for live cetacean commerce
- documents related to the overseas export of live cetaceans
- complete inventories of cetaceans in possession of the Taiji Whale Museum
- documentation related to the dismantling of dead cetaceans by the Taiji Whale Museum, and
- inspection reports for the animals in possession by the Taiji Whale Museum
The Town of Taiji objected, stating that if this information was to be made public, it would infringe upon their reputation, and suggest that the town is profiting unfairly from the sale of cetaceans. Their intention, or so they claimed, was not to hide information from its residents, but rather from groups opposing dolphin captivity.
However, today Judge Ayako Takahashi stated that citizens have a right to this information, consistent with the purpose of the ordinance, which is to respect the right of citizens to know, to deepen their understanding of and trust in town government, and to contribute to the realization of a more fair and open town government — making this a huge victory for cetaceans, and anti-captivity organizations alike.
“This is a great victory for LIA’s work for cetaceans in Japan. We believe these documents will finally disprove Taiji’s claim that the hunts are all about culture and tradition, and instead, illustrate the truth that the hunts are undeniably, financially driven by the captivity industry. LIA is deeply grateful for Dolphin Project’s comprehensive documentation and support in its legal initiatives.” ~ Ren Yabuki
During the 2018/19 drive season, Dolphin Project, for the first time, documented a complete drive from start to finish via drones. Subsequently, as a result of LIA’s continued drone documentation, we have been able to get a more detailed understanding of the abhorrent methodology utilized in the hunts.
For years, the town of Taiji has expended large amounts of money to conceal information related to the dolphin drive hunts. However, the filing of lawsuits and today’s victory vindicates all the tireless work and efforts spent to expose the truth.
Your donations play a large part in these huge victories for dolphins!
It is only by the funding of lawsuits in Japan, that we can expose the nefarious activities in Taiji. To date donations have defeated unlawful deportation orders, illegal refusal of entry to dolphinariums, and the illegal concealment of information behind the drive hunts. Without your support, none of this would have been possible.
“We have always believed the solution lies in working directly with Japanese citizens and challenging the legality of these drive hunts. Today we are a giant step closer to victory!” ~ Tim Burns, Dolphin Project
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Featured image: Ren Yabuki, Director of Life Investigation Agency (LIA) celebrates victory in Japanese courts. Credit: LIA