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Japan unplugs ‘Cove’

Exhib fears protests about dolphin-slaughter doc

A Tokyo theater that was skedded to screen “The Cove,” the documentary on the annual slaughter of dolphins in Taiji, Japan, has cancelled due to fears of protests outside the venue, according to distrib Unplugged.

Helmer Louie Psihoyos’ Academy Award-winning doc was due to unspool June 26 at Theater N in the Shibuya entertainment district.

But theater management got cold feet on Thursday after receiving harassing phone calls and warnings that right-wing protesters would picket the theater.

Unplugged, whose Tokyo offices have also been targeted by protesters, is negotiating with other venues, though none have been announced.

In May the distrib said “The Cove” would open on 26 screens in Japan. It is not yet known whether other exhibs will follow Theater N’s example.

The doc follows the efforts of Ric O’Barry, a former trainer for the “Flipper” TV series, to stop the slaughter of dolphins for food. But some Japanese resent the interference in the country’s culinary culture.

Undeterred by the uproar, O’Barry will arrive in Japan on Tuesday to promote the pic.

“The Cove” screened at the Tokyo Film Festival in October but has yet to open for the public.

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