Following an outpouring of criticism by environmentalists and filmmakers, the Tokyo Film Festival has reversed itself and included the award-winning documentary The Cove in tonight's (Wednesday) screenings, Britain's Guardian newspaper reported today. The film includes horrifying scenes of dolphins being slaughtered by fishermen near the town of Taiji. The Cove , by the American director Louie Psihoyos, was originally rejected by the festival, despite the fact that it had received numerous awards at other film festivals throughout the world. Residents of Taiji had raised a continuous battle to keep it from being shown in the country, claiming it is defamatory and that the producers filmed them without their permission. Only a week ago Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada urged critics of the dolphin hunt to respect his country's cultural traditions. "People in different countries eat all kinds of things, depending on their culture," he said. Those attending tonight's screening voiced mixed reactions, the Associated Press reported. "Westerners say it's OK to kill and eat cows, but not dolphins," Hiroshi Hatajima, a 42-year-old office worker, told the wire service. "That kind of special treatment isn't going to register with a lot of Japanese.
'Smalls Change (Meditations Upon Ageing)' arrives in April.
The two awards have made for a great 72nd birthday present for the country music icon.