Petitioning Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe and 27 others

Include marine mammals in the Japanese animal welfare and management laws


When Dolphins and small whales are drive-hunted in Taiji, a feature of the hunt is the erection of signs by the hunters advising visitors that the captured Cetaceans are the property of the ISANA Fishermens’ Association. 

These Cetaceans are considered a ‘marine resource’ by the Ministry of Agriculture, Farming and Fisheries of Japan and therefore their treatment does not fall under the Animal Welfare and Management Law defined in Japan for the humane treatment of animals that are slaughtered for food.

This display of ‘ownership’ by ISANA Fishermens’ Association should qualify the captured Cetaceans to be awarded with a level of care afforded to all animals awaiting slaughter for human consumption.

I refer you specifically to the Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science published in April 2013. The linked published paper focuses specifically on the methods currently used to drive and kill Cetaceans in Taiji, Japan and concludes that the dolphin drives are inhumane. 

This petition will send a Japanese translation of the following letter to Prime Minister Abe, Ministry of Agriculture, Farming and Fisheries, Ministry of Environment, as well as Japanese Ambassadors worldwide.

Please sign to help us get a response from the Japanese government.  Individuals at Freedom Blue have been trying to get a response on this issue via Japanese Embassies’ for 2 years, help us show the Japanese government the lack of laws covering marine mammals is an issue that needs to be addressed. 

Should the Japanese government choose to disregard this request, Freedom Blue plans on petitioning Foreign Ministers and Ambassadors  to Japan that represent countries that have trade agreements with Japan worldwide, asking them to make the lack of Animal Welfare laws in Japan for marine mammals a part of trade discussions, negotiations and agreements.


Example of the letter that will be sent in Japanese;

We are writing to you as a Marine Conservation Group with a rapidly growing global membership.

One of the issues we are addressing is the Dolphin Drive Hunts in Taiji, Wakayama prefecture. We do not refer to the food culture aspect of this activity but specifically we are concerned about the lack of duty of care the Hunters have towards the Dolphins that they drive into the cove. From correspondence with Japanese officials, we have been advised that both Dolphins and Whales, because they are wild, are considered a ‘marine resource’ by the Ministry of Agriculture, Farming and Fisheries of Japan and therefore their treatment does not fall under the Animal Welfare and Management Law defined in Japan for the humane treatment of animals that are slaughtered for food.

A feature of the drive hunt in Taiji is the erection of signs by the hunters advising visitors that the captured cetaceans are the property of ISANA Fishermens’ Association. This action is specifically aimed at controlling the growing number of advocates visiting Taiji each year to witness the drives. The presence of this display of ownership surely qualifies the captured cetaceans to be awarded a level of care afforded to all animals awaiting slaughter for human consumption?

In the 2012/2013 drive season 46 drives took place resulting in live captures and slaughters. An addendum to this email can be found at this link and contains details of all of the drives.

On at least 8 of these occasions, Dolphins were held anywhere between 1 and 6 days without any duty of care ie food or medical attention. This is in addition to the stress suffered while being held by ISANA, the drowning of Dolphins in nets, the strikes suffered by skiffs, Dolphins that are taken to the butcher to be processed for sale are still conscious and aware, and the release back to the ocean of babies and juveniles that are in no position to fend for themselves and are therefore doomed to perish.

Respectfully, this is not an attack on the culture of Japan but a specific interest in the animal cruelty that is apparent and documented in these drive hunts.

The Environmental Investigation Agency in its recently published report “Toxic catch: Japan’s unsustainable whale, dolphin and porpoise hunts” also refers to the cruelty of drive hunts as “dolphins may be secured by their tail fluke and dragged by boats. Unable to control their surfacing to breathe during this period, dolphins sometimes die during the capture process due to forced drowning”.

We ask respectfully that in this, the 21st century, why there are apparently no laws concerning the welfare of these cetaceans while they are hunted for the profit and convenience of the Japanese people? Can you and your Cabinet, please advise on who is responsible for the duty of care for these animals? The current lack of legislation provides for no animal welfare whatsoever in the case of these Dolphins.

We look forward to hearing from you at your earliest convenience.


(your name)



The accompanying addendum referenced and linked in the letter, lists documented incidents were the standard duty of care administered the dolphins of the Taiji during a drive, capture, selection for live sale and slaughter would not meet the current accepted standards afforded animals used for human consumption in modern societies, throughout the 2012/2013 Taiji dolphin drive hunting season,.  (Based on documentation via photographs, live reports and updates over social media websites provided by International and Japanese observers in Taiji, from Sea Shepherd Conservation Society Cove Guardians and Ric O’Barry Dolphin Project, as well as Independent observers including Freedom Blue members. Also referencing incidents mentioned in International and National media)

The following can be found on the Freedom Blue website 

Letter to
Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe
Ambassador Kitera Masato
Ambassador Takashi Koezuka
and 25 others
Ambassador Yasuaki Nogawa
Ambassador Harada
Ambassador Jiro Kodera
Ambassador Haruhisa Takeuchi
Ambassador Satoru Satoh
Ambassador Yoshihiko Kamo
Ambassador Keiichi Hayashi
Ambassador Kenichiro Sasae
Ambassador Yoshizawa
Ambassador Masaki Okada
Ambassador Shigeru Nakamura
Ambassador Kourou Bessho
Japanese Government and Ambassadors
Minister of Agriculture Farming and Fisheries Yoshimasa Hayashi
Minister of Environment Nobuteru Ishihara
Ambassador Yoshitaka Akimoto
Ambassador Akira Miwa
Ambassador Hidenori Murakami
Ambassador Mamoru Shinohara
Ambassador Toshiro Suzuki
Ambassador Ichiro Komatsu
Ambassador Takeshi Nakane
Ambassador Hideo Sato
Ambassador Masaharu Kohno
Ambassador Shuichiro Megata (Ambassador)
内閣総理大臣 阿倍晋三閣下、閣僚各位、および大使各位


 環境調査機関環境調査局(EIA)の最近の公表レポートで ’有害な漁獲 ” -支持できない日本のクジラやイルカ漁” は近年の追い込み猟にも当てはまります。イルカは、その尾まぐれを固定されボートに引きずられます。この最中、浮上して呼吸することが不可能な為、息をする為の浮上をすることができません。その為にイルカは強制溺死が原因となり、時々捕獲過程で死亡します。”  と追い込み猟の残酷さを指摘しています。

 閣下、内閣閣僚各位 、どなたがこれらの動物福祉に対して責任を持たれているのか、お聞かせ願えませんでしょうか?