Wakayama Gov. Yoshinobu Nisaka on Tuesday rejected concerns tweeted by U.S. Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy over the "inhumaneness of drive hunt dolphin killing," citing differences in food culture.
"Dietary culture varies and it is the wisdom of civilization to mutually respect others' standpoints unless the world faces a lack of resources," Nisaka told a press conference.
Taiji town in western Japan's Wakayama Prefecture is known for its traditional whaling, which stirred international controversy after the Oscar-winning 2009 U.S. documentary "The Cove" highlighted the slaughter of dolphins there.
"We live on the lives of cows and pigs. It is not appropriate to say only dolphin (hunting) is inhumane," the governor said, adding that dolphins are not subject to protection under international regulations.
Kennedy's statement came after the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society said last Friday that more than 250 bottlenose dolphins had been driven into a cove in Taiji to be slaughtered.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga defended the hunting Monday, saying it is one of Japan's traditional fishing methods and conducted properly according to law.