In a surprising last-minute decision, organizers of the Tokyo Film Festival have agreed to screen The Cove, the documentary expose of the horrific dolphin slaughter that takes place annually in the Japanese coastal town of Taiji.
In an interview with the Associated Press, festival chairman Tom Yoda declined to discuss how the decision was reached, but admitted there had been strong arguments against showing the film, which could lead to "an unexpected controversy."
"We considered the freedom of expression," Yoda said. "And there was interest in the work from all over the world."
The Cove's presence at the festival will be downplayed - it isn't even part of the festival's official program book - but the fact the movie is being shown there at all should be thrilling news for director Louis Psihoyos and dolphin activist Richard O'Barry. Both of them told me they believe if The Cove was ever shown in Japan, public outcry would ensure the dolphin slaughter would cease.