The first two Japanese cinemas scheduled to show Oscar-winning documentary The Cove have canceled their plans under pressure from right wing protest groups. The film depicts the hunting of dolphins in the Japanese fishing town of Taiji. While it drew critical claim and wide support from environmentalists and animal rights groups, some Taiji residents called it inaccurate and culturally ignorant. It was set to open at two theaters in Tokyo later this month, but after protesters lined up outside of the distribution company’s office and the house of its president, it now it looks like the controversial doc won’t play in the capital city at all.
“It’s unfortunate that a few extremists scared one of the Tokyo venues from showing The Cove but I’m confident that the Japanese people will now be even more curious to know what these few people are trying so hard to hide. The extremists themselves are scared of the truth being known because what they are trying to hide cannot survive debate,” said the film’s director, Louie Psihoyos.
Like its Tokyo counterparts, Cinemart Shinsaibashi in Osaka has also canceled plans to screen the film. The film’s Japanese distributor, Unplugged, says it still plans to show the film elsewhere in Japan.