- News & Events
- No comments
Tokyo 2020 Test Sailing Event under Scrutiny
Organisers of the World Cup sailing competition in Japan were met with harsh criticism when they decided to feature a dolphin show as part of the test event’s opening ceremony. According to denigrators, this sent an inappropriate message about sailing – a sport long known for its green policies.
World Sailing is ‘Disappointed’
Known as a major event in the international sailing community, the competition featured hundreds of sailors from 44 nations and was held at this year’s test site for the Tokyo Olympics 2020 in Enoshima Island. During the opening ceremony dolphins performed for an audience who had a mixed response which included overwhelming negativity.
British sailor and an Olympic silver medallist in the sport, Luke Patience tweeted about the show; “Couldn’t be more embarrassed with what I’m witnessing. We are sailors, and apparently a ‘green’ sport.”
— Luke Patience (@patience_luke) September 9, 2018
World Sailing, the main governing body for international sailing, expressed disappointment with the performance and stressed its commitment to protecting dolphins and other marine cetaceans. In a statement, the organization apologised for the display and the misjudgment that caused it. World Sailing also stated that approval was not requested nor given for the content of the opening ceremony and that displays of this nature are not condoned.
Japan Blames it on Cultural Differences
Head of the Japan Sailing Federation, Hirobumi Kawano later apologized for the offensive show. He admitted that the organization had ‘lacked thought’ in planning the show, but also stated that dolphins are treated differently depending on which country you are in. Although justified to many countries, the outcry may be a reflection of the inherent cultural differences between nations when it comes to the treatment of marine animals. Japan has had a longstanding history of upsetting animal rights activists around the world by continuing its tradition of a dolphin cull every year in Taiji town.