Yoko Ono has added her voice to those calling on dolphin fishermen to stop their hunt, days after the US ambassador to Tokyo waded into the row.
The Japanese widow of John Lennon published an open letter to the men of Taiji, the small town made famous by the Oscar-winning film The Cove which depicts the annual bloodbath, in which she urged them to halt the cull for the "future of Japan".
Ono said the hunt was damaging the reputation of Japan.
It "will give an excuse for big countries and their children in China, India and Russia to speak ill of Japan," she wrote. "I am sure it is not easy, but please consider the safety of the future of Japan, surrounded by many powerful countries which are always looking for the chance to weaken the power of our country."
The letter was posted on her "Imagine Peace" website.
Ono's intervention came days after US ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy tweeted her disapproval. "Deeply concerned by inhumaneness of drive hunt dolphin killing. USG (US Government) opposes drive hunt fisheries," wrote Kennedy.More on this: