More about "The Cove" from Japan Today, 12/17/14:
A Japanese attorney based in Tokyo has sent a formal letter, on behalf of his client Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, to the Shingu and Wakayama City Police, countering accusations from the police departments that Sea Shepherd’s Cove Guardian volunteers violated Japanese law by following a truck on public roads and taking photographs to document the transportation of dolphins for captivity.
Sea Shepherd said in a press release that the formal letter is the beginning of legal action to protect the basic constitutional rights of Sea Shepherd’s Cove Guardian volunteers on the ground in Japan.
On Nov 21, Cove Guardian volunteers followed a truck holding dolphins in crates, as the cetaceans captured in Taiji’s hunt were being transferred for captivity at an aquarium or marine park. The Cove Guardians say they complied with Japanese law to ensure the safety of all involved.
However, police approached the volunteers on Nov 22 and told them that following the truck is an offense under “Minor Offense Law.” On the morning of Dec 9, police also told the Cove Guardians that photographs taken Dec 8 outside a location that purchases dolphin meat were taken in violation of Wakayama city ordinance. The police warned the Sea Shepherd volunteers that if they attempt these activities again, they will face arrest.
Sea Shepherd’s attorney has notified the police departments that the Cove Guardians acted within the basic rights guaranteed by Japan’s constitution. The formal letter states (translated into English), “These activities are to investigate the truth and to record it, as it is guaranteed by our constitution article 21-1 ‘Freedom of Expression’ and it is not at all ‘illegal.’ Therefore we demand that you notify us, which actions would apply to which law, the number of articles, etc. in a precise manner within two weeks after receiving this letter. If we do not receive your reply, then we will conclude that you have admitted that you did an illegal action of impeding their freedom of expression.”
Each year since the beginning of Sea Shepherd’s Operation Infinite Patience campaign in 2010, the Cove Guardians have been on the ground in Taiji throughout the entire six-month annual hunt season, documenting the capture and slaughter of dolphins and small whales, and live streaming these atrocities for the world to see.
Sea Shepherd Senior Cove Guardian Campaign Leader, Melissa Sehgal was denied entry into Japan this month to document the slaughter, despite never violating the law during her four seasons in Taiji. She was sent home on Dec 8 — the same day the Cove Guardians were being monitored by police — after nine hours of interrogation and an overnight stay in a holding cell on Dec 7.
“Sea Shepherd promised that our Cove Guardian volunteers will always act in accordance with Japanese law, and we have continued to honor that promise. We want to ensure that the Cove Guardians are able to return to Taiji until the slaughter ends,” said Sehgal. “I am hopeful that this beginning of legal action will not only protect the rights of our volunteers on the ground, but also help us to be even more effective in our efforts for the dolphins and whales.”
No matter how one feels about the dolphin/whale issues, it seems these Cove Guardians are a bit naive about Japanese law. Laws other than those in the constitution apply, which include those dealing with photographing without consent, nuisance and portrait rights.