People, Environment

Japan Detains Star of Dolphin Exposé

Japan Detains Star of Dolphin ExposéJapan Detains Star of Dolphin Exposé

The animal-rights activist and star of the “The Cove,” which highlighted Japan’s controversial annual dolphin slaughter in the town of Taiji, has been detained at Tokyo’s Narita International Airport, his lawyer says.

Takashi Takano told CNN that Ric O’Barry has been detained in a deportees’ facility at the airport on Monday and that he had met with the activist in the company of immigration officials. Takano was told by officials that O’Barry had tried to enter Japan on a tourist visa but his tourist status was not fully proven. Officials refused to provide him with further information.

His son, Lincoln O’Barry, told CNN that his father had entered Japan to monitor the hunt, to test the dolphin meat for mercury poisoning and to work with local activists.

According to Takano, officials accused O’Barry of being related to Sea Shepherd, the high-profile, anti-poaching marine conservancy organization -- an accusation he denied.

“He has no affiliation with Sea Shepherd. He’s been doing this (activism) for well over 40 years,” his son said. Prior to his activism, O’Barry was the dolphin trainer for the TV series “Flipper.”

Takano said he has filed a formal objection, requesting authorities to allow O’Barry into the country, or issue an order to leave the country. If the 76-year old is deported, he can’t re-enter Japan for five years.