TOKYO – The Japanese Ministry of Justice has denied an appeal from Dolphin Project Founder/Director Ric O’Barry to enter the country, three days since he was placed in a deportee’s facility at Tokyo’s Narita International Airport. Immigration officers have also issued an order of departure for January 21. O’Barry has refused to leave, vowing to fight the deportation order.
Expounding on their premise that his tourist status wasn’t able to be “fully proven,” immigration officials accused O’Barry of making false claims on his Facebook page. They also took issue with him attending an independent event in Tokyo for Japan Dolphins Day on August 29, 2015, when, during one of his regular interrogations, he told immigration officials he would not attend.
The Japanese government is cracking down on those who oppose their war on dolphins.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.- says Ric O’Barry, through his son, Lincoln O’Barry.
O’Barry was initially refused admittance into Japan, when, on Monday, January 18, he was detained by Japanese immigration officials upon flying into Tokyo. O’Barry was repeatedly interrogated and placed in a deportees’ facility, similar to a jail, where he has been held behind bars ever since. He has not received proper nourishment, his only food coming from the airport’s 7 Eleven convenience store, and sleep has been minimal at best.
O’Barry is no stranger to two hour interrogations. Since the 2009 release of the Academy award-winning documentary “The Cove,” he is regularly detained for questioning every time he visits Japan. The country’s harassment of him escalated when O’Barry, also last August, was arrested for allegedly not carrying a passport. After spending a night in jail, all charges against him were dropped when police discovered the passport in the car O’Barry was driving. But nothing of this magnitude has ever happened before.
Dolphin Project’s legal team, represented by The Law Offices of Takashi Takano, has initiated a formal administrative suit and injunction of the deportation warrant. Should O’Barry voluntarily leave the country, he would be banned from entry for a minimum of five years. For a man who has travelled to Taiji for 13 years, exposing the brutal dolphin drives taking place there, this option was unacceptable. With a formal deportation process now in place, O’Barry will be transported to a detention center near the airport. We cannot let Japan hide what happens in Taiji. The world is watching.
Please visit DolphinProject.net for updates. – Source: Dolphin Project
And so the fight begins… This could be one of the most important fights for activists in Japan. Ric is probably the toughest one to get kicked out of the country, mainly because of his constant praise of the Japanese people and their culture as well as his strict policy for all of us not breaking any Japanese laws. He has been going to Taiji consistently every year, longer than anyone or group has and always is granted entry. If Ric falls, it paves the path for all activists to be refused entry even though they have not broken any laws. What most do not understand, this is not a nation fighting for its culture, this is a very small select group of men using influence to benefit there own pockets at the expense of Japanese culture and people. The hunters are pawns in this game as well. What these few men are not expecting…Ric’s POD will rise! – Tim Burns – Dolphin Project
At the time of this writing, my husband continues to be locked up in a detention center. He has been harassed, handcuffed and repeatedly interrogated – all for speaking his mind about the slaughter, and for insisting that the Japanese people be allowed to know about it. Since 2003, O’Barry, driven by empathy and determination, has been bringing attention to the dolphin massacre, a practice so cruel, it continues to be surrounded by secrecy and denial. And I believe this is why Japanese authorities are so committed to putting duct tape over his mouth and deporting him. But make no mistake: Despite long and repeated interrogations, he will not be intimidated into confessing to having broken Japanese laws, because he is guilty of no crime.
If O´Barry is deported from Japan, it will happen because of a deep-running fear of what might result if more Japanese people learn about the goings-on in Taiji. Fear of truth is a powerful motivator for Japan, it would seem. But the truth cannot be supressed forever. He will never give up. The authorities can use their power to prevent O´Barry and other dolphin protectors from entering Japan, but they cannot take away our freedom of expression. That power they do not have. My concern now is for my husband’s safety and well being, as it is understood he is being held in a facility housing dangerous criminals. Japan would be well advised to pay attention to the world: our voices, instead of being hushed, are becoming louder. – Helene Hesselager O’Barry
I just got to see Ric for about 30 minutes. The Immigration officials at the detention center were very kind and polite and courteous. They had me sign some papers, show my id, then they directed me to the third-floor where Ric was being held. The moment he saw me our eyes met a big smile covered his face , he raised his hands in the air and said, “Yeah!”
He looked a little bit tired and like he lost a little weight but his spirits were alive and well. I asked him how he’s doing and he said it’s a little bit uncomfortable but he’s doing well. He doesn’t like the food very much and is having a hard time sleeping but other than that he’s doing fine. He also wasn’t aware that three days of the week he could order plate lunches and he was happy to hear about that.
He told me that the immigration officials at Narita airport we’re very harsh and mean to him but he made sure to express to me that the immigration officers here at the detention center a very kind and polite to him. He even wanted me to translate to the officer sitting behind him that he appreciated their kindness and politeness very much. The guard was happy to hear that. Ric also expressed to me that he plans to fight his detainment as far as he can so donations to his webpage would really be helpful. He was very happy to get my book and was excited to start reading for it didn’t seem like he had any reading material.
Before I left I asked to talk to the investigator in charge and had a nice long productive sit down discussion with him. I explained to him that Rick was NOT A part of Sea Shepherd and that his tactics were much more peaceful and respect full to the Japanese people. I continued by telling him that Rick has been with me up to North Japan several times and spent thousands of dollars buying supplies for the Japanese people that are still suffering. He seemed to really take my word sincerely and said he felt bad for what was happening to Ric. I assured him that Ric was a very good man and to please take that into consideration during the investigation. He promised he would and we shook hands and I went on my way. Rick is a little disappointed that he couldn’t make it into Japan but he does know that his detainment is shining a brighter light on the plight of the Dolphins and the situation and Taiji. I could tell Ric was physically drained and tired but I was happy to see that his spirit was strong.He also said that he will fight this to fight to the end and is ready to stay in as long as he needs to. – Enson Inoue
My Husband Is Being Detained In Japan For Protecting Dolphins
Japanese Government Awakens Anonymous
O’Barry Captivity Day 10, Slaughters Continue
Day 18: O’Barry Grows Weaker Delay Cause For Concern
Japan Deports O’Barry
Credit: Elizabeth Dougherty Talks With Ric O’Barry in Japan
Day 18: Ric O’Barry is 76 yrs old & in jail though he’s broken no laws. Let him go or send him home. US Embassy in Japan, where are you?
— Leilani Münter (@LeilaniMunter) February 4, 2016