A rep for the Japanese fishermen defends them in the fight with the Heroes star

By Stephen M. Silverman
Updated November 16, 2007 12:15 PM
Russ Elliot/AdMedia

Neither side appears to be letting up in the Hayden Panettiere versus Japanese fisherman controversy that began last month, when the Heroes star participated with others in a confrontation with the fisherman during a dolphin hunt.

The situation was exacerbated Thursday, when an arrest warrant was issued in Japan for Panettiere.

Later that day, the actress-activist, 18, told Access Hollywood in a statement: “Obviously this issue has generated defensive behavior on the part of both the Japanese authorities and fishermen.”

For her part, Panettiere said, “I have grown up hearing – and adhering to – this phrase: ‘Condemnation without investigation dooms one to everlasting ignorance.’ ”

Moving forward, “We must unite as a world to solve our increasing international environmental crises. We can no longer hide [behind] outdated, senseless cultural traditions and lazy, bad habits that are resulting in the annihilation of our planet’s resources and the extinction of our species,” she said.

Fisheries Respond

On Oct. 30, Panettiere joined other activists in paddling on surfboards into a cove near Taiji in southwestern Japan, in an attempt to interfere with a dolphin hunt there. The incident drew worldwide attention when video of it – including footage of Panettiere weeping on shore after being turned back – reached the Internet.

In response to that protest, Takumi Fukuda, a spokesperson for the Fisheries Attaché at the Embassy of Japan released a statement to Access Hollywood. It said, “Generations of people in Taiji have relied on fisheries for their livelihoods, and their catches are carried out in a sustainable manner.”

Adding that “The population of dolphins has been healthily maintained for many years,” Fukuda statement goes on to say, “While respecting Ms. Panettierre’s personal feelings towards dolphins, I hope that your viewers will be reassured by the fact that Japan is carefully managing marine-living resources for the future.”