According to the complaint filed with the Wakayama District Court, the woman is a member of a group that opposes the town’s annualdolphin hunt. The complaint states that when the plaintiffs visited the Taiji Whale Museum on Feb. 9, they were handed a piece of paper by a staff member, written in both Japanese and English, that read, “Those who object to commercial whaling are not admitted to the museum.”
The complaint said the refusal to admit them violated stipulations in Article 14 of the Japanese Constitution that prohibits discrimination because of race.
The plaintiffs are demanding 6.7 million yen ($65,700) in compensations.
Katsuki Hayashi, the director of the facility, told The Asahi Shimbun there was no intention on the museum’s part to discriminate based on race.
He said the ban was only implemented between September 2013 and February 2014, when local villagers were allowed to harvest whales, and targeted at those foreigners who opposed the traditional hunt.
“I did it to protect the town’s culture, properties and fishing industry,” he added.
The lawsuit also claims denying access to public facilities based on one’s views on whaling is an infringement of Article 19 of the Constitution, which guarantees freedom of thought and conscience.
The woman visited the museum on May 14 with the cast of the American film “The Cove.” Their documentary chronicled the town’s dolphin hunt and questioned the practice.
She said she attempted to hand the complaint to officials of the museum, but they refused to accept the document.