~ Anti-whaling voice from Japan ~

Protest to Film Festival International UK about the award to "Behind the Cove"

Please send message to Film Festival International UK Office!


To Film Festival International UK,

I am quite surprised that you chose Keiko Yagi as Best Director of a Feature Documentary in London IFF 2018.
This movie has problems too much to be awarded.

1. "Behind the Cove" is a propaganda movie strongly supported Japanese Government and whaling industry.

Japan Fisheries Agency has a budget of over 5 billion yen (30 million GBP) per year for pro-whaling policy and 400 million of them is for overseas public information.
In addition, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan has also a budget for pro-whaling policy.
The overseas screening of "Behind the Cove" is including among 14 million yen new year budget of Ministry of Foreign Affairs for whaling.
Fisheries Agency and National Diet Members who act for whaling industry actively supported promotion for the media of the movie.
In the first place, an encounter with Yoshito Umezaki at a whale meat pub in Tokyo caused Ms. Yagi to produce this movie as she herself admitted.
Fishery journalist Mr. Umezaki is a key person who has led manipulation of public opinion about whaling in Japan through the media on consignment from Japan Whaling Association.

2. There are many embellishments and lies in this movie.

Ms. Yagi explains in the movie; "US raised the whaling issue at UN Conference on the Human Environment in 1972 in ordert to fend off criticism against Vietnam War, and it is stated in the secret documents of US."
She entirely diverted this information from a Japanese TV program for pro-whaling propaganda.
She went US National Archives and Records Administration to take pictures and claimed that "She could not find it because it was hidden."
This is a malicious fabrication by Ms. Yagi and Japanese TV station BS-TBS.
Although the relevant official document exists, it is not secret but opened on FRUS website and such a thing is not described at all.
Commercial whaling moratorium is just one of US proposed packages such as amount of financial assistance to developing countries, global climate monitoring plan, support for concluding treaties of World Heritage Convention, waste disposal and international trade of wildlife, and there was enough background as breakdown of negotiations in the IWC annual meeting of the previous year.
It is true that the US government has filed a complaint against the interference by anti-war activists to the Swedish government.
But it is just outright lie for pro-whaling that US made up whaling issue to look away from Vietnam War.
In fact, US Government had been criticized both at Stockholm Conference and US own internal.
In contrast, Japanese government had put pressure on the press to contain anti-war speech about Vietnam War.
Because at that time Japan had strongly supported US, had been used as a relay base and had become rich with war special demand.
Ms. Yagi is basically lacking in both the ability to investigate public materials and to understand the historical background.
Next, Kunio Yonezawa claimed in the movie that; "He was deceived informed of the wrong schedule at the Stockholm Conference."
It is obvious that his argument is a complete lie by a diplomatic official document.
Mr. Yonezawa is ex-IWC commissioner of Japan and had been parachuted to ex-vice president of major whaling company.
Ms. Yagi did not research well and believed the persons concerned whaling industry without even questioning it.
In addition, Japanese whaling industry has the history of unsustainable catches and regulatory violations.
It has never been beautiful and innocent tradition.

3. There are fanatic historical revisionism and extreme patriotism

Just like the assertion to beautify only Japanese whaling unlike Western whaling, the sense of self-ethnic superiority as only Japanese are special appears in remarks such as "Japanese virtue" in promotion.
There are three inexplicable depictions in this movie completely unrelated to whaling issue, "Attack on Pearl Harbor", "Racial Equality Proposal" and "Atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki".
It shows that she has absolutely lacked awareness of responsibility of perpetration during the war and racism existing in Japan today.
The second claim is a gossip preferable by Japanese online right-wingers.
In fact, Japan has discriminated Ainu and people from former colonies.
And, Japan did not ratify International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms until apartheid was abolished.
Those claims are too crazy and egoistic.
The movie seems to assert that; "We Japanese never forget that US drop to the atomic bombs, so US should not complain to us about eating whale meat from the Antarctic!"
Or "The Japanese have never done racial discrimination unlike Anglo-Saxon, but has just experienced racism of Anti-whaling."
Do you think that such a crazy assertion will be useful for Japan - UK friendship?
Just like conspiracy theory about Whaling moratorium and Vietnam War, her claim about whaling and atomic bomb has major contradiction.
Because Japanese Government refused to accede UN Nuclear Weapons Convention contrary to the wishes of world and Hibakusha, Atomic bomb survivors.
I never heard Ms. Yagi's comment about racism in Japan or responsibility of perpetration of WWII and Vietnam War but only know her strange comment on the movie promotion; "There is also discrimination on food in Japan."
She also told a lie more childish than rite-winger that "Korea is not a member of IWC and killing more whales than Japan" at a symposium.
The second half of the claim is willingly used by Anti-Korea right wing, but it is not a fact.

4. Low quality

The quality evaluation is very low overseas as the Montreal Film Festival 2015, even by pro-whaling supporters in Japan.
It is also pointed out by stakeholders in Taiji that the movie is poor quality and just anti-American movies.
Film director Takayoshi Honda said that the movie is too terrible about shooting, composition and editing.
As you know, Japan is not a developing country of the movie and Japanese film industry is mature.
I think that if the first work by the fresh director who was anonymous until then can get the best award, all film directors in Japan including amateurs, who have not received support from the Government should win the best award.
You nominated 13 directors and 14 films to each prize.
I do not know why you chose this of all others.

5. Use for pro-whaling promotion

It is immediately reported by some Japanese media that you gave the prize to "Behind the Cove" and Keiko Yagi.
Among them, TBS is the same TV station of BS-TBS above and Jiji Press is the media Mr. Umezaki was enrolled.
She commented in the TBS news that; "The movie is recognized as 'neutral'."
It is no doubt that she herself and many right-wing in Japan will misunderstand that their assertion was accepted internationally.
Your prize had a great influence not only marine conservation and wildlife protection, but nationalism in Japan.

Please answer.

  1. Why you select this fanatic movie among the nominated films?
  2. Do you admit the claim of this movie about "Conspiracy theory about Vietnam War and US whaling policy", "Attack on Pearl Harbor", "Racial Equality Proposal" and "Atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki" forcibly related with Japan's whaling?
  3. Do you think the movie is neutral as she said in the TBS news?
  4. How do you think about that Japanese Government may use the awards politically?

-US Archive

-Ultra double standard of Japan's diplomacy: 100% opposite in nuclear ban and "Favorite sashimi"
-Taiji - an inflated symbol of perceived culture

-The activist documentary 'Behind 'The Cove'' falls short of the mark
-Talk-back to an Oscar winner: Keiko Yagi's doc, BEHIND THE COVE, opens in Los Angeles

-Conspiracy of Whale (Japanese text only)
-Expose the lie of "Behind the Cove" (Japanese text only)

-Fisheries Agency request budget for whaling policy focuses on countermeasures against interference and international understanding (Japanese text only)
-A Japanese movie depicting the whaling issue was awarded on Film Festival in UK, Anti-Whaling Country (Japanese text only)
-Japanese got the best director award Film Festival in UK, Rebuting against criticism to whaling (Japanese text only)

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