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TOKYO: Environmentalists and nationalists held opposing rallies over the issue of Japan’s dolphin and whale hunts in a rare showdown in central Tokyo yesterday, leading to angry scenes.
About 50 anti-whaling activists gathered at a park in the Shibuya shopping district with banners bearing slogans such as “Stop the cruel dolphin hunt!” while across the street about 30 nationalists shouted “Get out of Japan!”
The nationalists accused the environmentalists of undermining Japanese culture and traditions, saying “environmental terrorists” should be sent to slaughter houses.
The rally was part of demonstrations to be held around the world this weekend against the killing of dolphins in the town of Taiji, according to the organiser, Action for Marine Mammals.
Demonstrations are also planned in cities including London, Sao Paulo, Vancouver and across the US, the group said.
Taiji, in western Japan, drew global attention after “The Cove”, a hard-hitting film about the annual dolphin hunts there, won the Academy Award for best documentary in 2010.