Japanese authorities have ordered to deport Ric O’Barry, who highlighted dolphin slaughter in the Japanese village of Taiji in the Oscar-winning documentary “The Cove.” O'Barry, who was the former dolphin trainer for the TV series “Flipper,” was detained Monday when he landed at Tokyo's Narita International Airport.
O'Barry was detained after officials alleged that he had entered Japan on a tourist visa but his status was not completely proven, CNN reported after the arrest. On Friday, Japanese authorities turned down his appeal to allow him to enter the country. Immigration authorities also accused him of lying during questioning and having links to the anti-whaling group, Sea Shepherd, the Associated Press (AP) reported. Both the accusations have been denied by the 76-year-old American.
“The Japanese government is cracking down on those who oppose their war on dolphins,” O'Barry said through his son, Lincoln O'Barry, according to a statement published on the website of his organization, The Dolphin Project, adding: “I’m incarcerated on trumped-up charges, just like in Taiji last August. For the past 72 hours, I have been behind bars in a detention facility, yet I have broken no laws.”
The AP report said, citing Lincoln that Barry denied the deportation and has been moved to another detention facility near Narita airport. His lawyer, Takashi Takano, said that the Japanese government is now expected to issue a formal warrant and physically deport him.
Lincoln, who denied his father's involvement with Sea Shepherd, also said in the statement: “This is a desperate attempt by the Japanese Government to hide the atrocities in Taiji. They have run out of excuses on why the slaughter and sale of mercury contaminated dolphin meat continues. Dolphin hunting in Taiji began in the 1950’s and is hardly cultural or traditional. The dolphins that aren’t slaughtered are sold to dolphin abusement parks around the world.”
Immigration officials said, according to the AP, that Ric has lied to them before, such as, in August last year, Ric had promised them that he would not attend an event named Japan Dolphins Day in Tokyo but ended up attending it. Officials said that because of such instances they cannot trust him. Meanwhile, residents of Taiji have defended the hunting of dolphins as a traditional practice.