- 人間環境学研究 (ISSN:13485253)
- vol.11, no.2, pp.91-105, 2013 (Released:2013-12-25)
Direct action is often regarded as a response to democratic deficit because it can sensitize the general public to the cause of the marginalized, stimulating communication among individuals of different walks of life in society. However, such theoretical discussion has mainly been limited to domestic situations, despite the development of transnational activism in practice. This paper examines a case of trans-border direct action - a contentious anti-whaling protest by the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society in a town in Japan. It illustrates that trans-border direct action can be detrimental to democracy for sustainability, largely because of the disparity of power related to communication in the global society. Such action might even pave paths for the powerful to pressure the weak. At the international level, the group legitimized its civil and uncivil forms of disobedience by using advanced English language and media skills to overwhelm the voices of local actors. At the local and national levels, the group's action lacked support and legal-democratic efforts through communication and discussion with stakeholders. Thus, the group failed to save the lives of cetaceans and to strengthen anti-whaling activism. Re-examination of the nexus between radical activism, communication and sustainability that involves social and cultural diversity is recommended.