- The Washington Times - Monday, January 20, 2014

Caroline Kennedy, the U.S. ambassador to Japan, is using her diplomatic stage to pressure that country to stop an annual hunt she finds deplorable: killing dolphins.

Each year, fishermen from Taiji drive hundreds of dolphins into an enclosed bay area and choose several to go to Japan’s marine parks, NBC reported. The rest are either sent back into the ocean — or killed for food.

“Deeply concerned by inhumaneness of drive hunt dolphin killing,” Ms. Kennedy said in a tweet. “US [government] opposes drive hunt fisheries.”

More than 250 bottlenose dolphins have already been taken for marine parks or killed for food in the past year, Sea Shepherd Conservation Society officials told NBC.

The hunt rose to international prominent in 2009, after “The Cove” — a film from a former National Geographic photographer — won Oscar nods. The documentary portrayed eco-activists as they fought with Japan’s police and fishermen to gain access to the hunt’s location.

FILE - In this Sept. 2, 2010 file photo, fishermen drive bottle-nose dolphins into a net during their annual hunt off Taiji, Wakayama Prefecture, western Japan. A Japanese government spokesman defended an annual dolphin hunt Monday, Jan. 20, 2014, one day after U.S. Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy tweeted tweeted that she was deeply concerned by the inhumanity of the practice. Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a news conference Monday that dolphin fishing in Japan is carried out appropriately in accordance with the law. (AP Photo/Kyodo News, File)  JAPAN OUT, MANDATORY CREDIT
FILE - In this Sept. 2, 2010 file photo, fishermen drive bottle-nose ... more >

The documentary received much criticism from Japanese groups and was deemed “anti-Japanese” and an attack on the nation’s culture, NBC reported.