Editor’s note: This story was originally published Feb 13, 2014. It has been updated to reflect recent developments.
TORONTO – A BBC filmmaker is reportedly being deported from Japan after he claimed he was being locked up at Osaka airport and accused of being an ‘eco-terrorist.’
Known for his documentation of the dolphin hunts in Taiji, Martyn Stewart said Japan “has chosen to deport me for my unreasonable behavior in Taiji.”
Stewart posted the comment on his Facebook page Thursday after he previously wrote that he was being detained in an airport waiting on an appeal regarding his entry into Japan. In that post, Stewart said the condition he is in and the treatment he has received is “nothing short of criminal.”
“I am locked in a cell room at Osaka airport waiting on an appeal to the high minister regarding my entry into Japan,” wrote Stewart on his Facebook page Thursday. “I’m accused of being sea shepherd and an eco terrorist, my footage is not liked in Japan apparently and have been accused of assaulting members of the public.
“In four years of being here for the dolphins I have maintained the law and abided by their rules. My words and pictures did the rest. The government of Japan will do anything to protect the rights of the fishermen of Taiji and the barbaric treatment of the animals involved.
“Please share far and wide to bring awareness to this corrupt government and those that want to continue to brutally treat these amazing animals. The condition I’m in and the treatment I have received is nothing short of criminal.”
Stewart then left a series of comments as friends and family shared their concerns.
Local fishermen say the hunt, which begins in September, is part of their village’s tradition and call Western critics who eat other kinds of meat hypocritical.
According to London 24, Stewart had visited the infamous Taiji cove “several times to film the dolphin hunts.”
Last month, a Japanese government spokesman defended the dolphin hunt after U.S. Ambassador Caroline Kennedy said she was “deeply concerned” by the inhumanity of the practice.
In January, over 250 dolphins were held captive in the cove—the largest pod to be driven into the cove in several years. At least 40 were killed while the others—roughly 130 to 140—were released.
The ongoing global campaign to stop the dolphin kill in Taiji garnered worldwide attention after the 2009 Academy Award-winning film about the hunt called The Cove.