It happened in the lush woodland area of Khimki, near Moscow, late at night in July 2012. Someone set the heavy equipment on fire in the construction site for a new highway leading from Moscow to St. Petersburg, the second capital of Russia.

Behind the clump of panicked dolphins, a row of Japanese fishing boats and skiffs appeared, the low thump of their engines rolling in on the sea breeze.

The town I was supposed to cover was called Taiji. It was the subject of a documentary called The Cove, which was up for an Academy Award. My bosses wanted someone to be there in case it won, to get the town’s side of the story.

Another Antarctic whaling season will soon end, but most in Japan remain unaware of the fierce fight between the conservation ships operated by Sea Shepherd Australia, and Japanese whaling vessels in the icy waters of the southern oceans.

Major media outlets in anti-whaling countries in the West and Oceania have been sweepingly critical, branding Japan’s actions as “barbarism” and “foolish.” Calls for an outright ban on whaling, akin to those made by anti-whaling nations at the IWC’s annual meeting, are being put forth.