a The Transit Lounge: Fight For Freedom of Speech in Japan

Back in the Day: I had a quarter life crisis, headed to Osaka, Japan for the unknown–only to discover that a passport plane ride are not necessarily a ticket to escape. Some Years Later: Settled back in Oz, the man of my dreams ended up in Tokyo for work–which is how a passport and plane ride showed me home is where the heart is. And Now: Well as luck would have it, we are about to embark on Japan Mark 3, with a baby in tow and another on the way...

Friday, June 11

Fight For Freedom of Speech in Japan

In the environmental documentary The Cove, diver Mandy-Rae Cruickshank swims with dolphins near a Japanese cove where the mammals are hunted and slaughtered. (Maple Pictures)

This time it is the dolphins versus Japan. CBC News is reporting about the fight within Japan to get the controversial documentary The Cove to cinema screens. It was screened - albeit one session only - at last year's Tokyo International Film Festival, when festival organisers caved to pressure, and the session sold out quickly. Although at the screening itself, news crews were banned from TIFF property and there was nothing around advertising that The Cove was on (in fact, it was only talked about in foreign press in Japan). It was very obvious that TIFF did not want any press about The Cove whatsoever. The documentary's director, Louis Psihoyos, even introduced the documentary, with a short Q&A once the screening was over - short and quiet because as he has written on The Cove Movie Blog, how could anyone defend what they had just seen?

The Cove Sparks Free-Speech Fight in Japan

Rejected by theatres, dolphin documentary draws overflow crowd at screening

The struggle to release the documentary The Cove in Japan has turned into a fight over freedom of speech, with a prominent group urging theatres to screen the Oscar-winning dolphin-hunt exposé.

An assembly of Japanese filmmakers, journalists and academics have signed a letter calling on theatres to screen the film and not back down amid threatened protests from nationalist groups, who have criticized the doc as anti-Japanese.

Read more here.

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