'The Cove' Canceled In Japan: Several Movie Theaters Refuse To Show Film

TOKYO — Two more movie theaters in Japan have canceled screenings of "The Cove," an Oscar-winning documentary that shows footage of a dolphin hunt in a Japanese village.

In recent months, protesters with loudspeakers have been shouting slogans at the Tokyo office of Unplugged, the distributor of "The Cove," criticizing the film as a betrayal of Japanese pride.

Unplugged said Friday the cancellations at Cinemart theaters in Tokyo and Osaka were triggered by worries about safety of moviegoers and businesses nearby. The Tokyo cinema where the movie was to open changed its mind Thursday after getting angry phone calls and warnings of protests.

Most Japanese have never eaten dolphin meat. But some believe killing dolphins and whales is part of traditional culinary culture and resent the interference of outsiders focused on species protection.

"The Cove" screened at the Tokyo International Film Festival in October and at smaller events in Japan but has not opened to the Japanese public. The Japanese version blurs the faces of some people on screen to lessen the possibility of trouble.

Unplugged said talks were under way with other theaters to show the film, although details weren't released.

WATCH director Louis Psihoyos respond to the canceled screenings: