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Wednesday, 4th May 2011
In General Japan News,

Taiji coastal whaling season cancelled

A controversial coastal whale hunting season in Wakayama Prefecture has been cancelled, much to the delight of Japanese animal rights protestors.

This is the first time in 23 years that the Taiji hunt has been cancelled, Japan Times reports, after dolphin culling practices were highlighted in the undercover documentary The Cove in 2009.

The decision was in part enforced by the number of fishing vessels destroyed by the March 11th earthquake, the local fishermen's union said.

Meanwhile, the spring research whaling season began on Sunday (May 1st), with the venue moved from the earthquake-hit region of Ishinomaki in Miyagi Prefecture to Kushiro, in southeast Hokkaido.

The Cove brought the Taiji hunt into the public eye and won an Oscar for best documentary, although some Japanese groups claim that the film contains factual errors, while the use of covert filming techniques was also criticised.

Renowned dolphin trainer Richard O'Barry, who rose to prominence for his role in the Flipper movies, played a major role in filming the documentary.

Written by Kimberley Homer