di Davide Marchetta
Tokyo, January 24 - Italy has formally raised concerns over a controversial dolphin hunt in Japan's Bay of Taiji, urging officials to "reconsider" the event. Italian Ambassador in Tokyo Domenico Giorgi sent his message, "in the spirit of deep friendship" that he said unites the two countries, asking the Japanese minister of agriculture and fisheries to think about ending the hunt. Other nations including the United States have also raised concerns about the Taiji event, part of an annual hunt season that runs from September through March. Elements were depicted in the 2009 Oscar-winning documentary "The Cove," which showed fishermen herding dolphins into a cove, where they were trapped by fishing nets. Some are released, a few are chosen to be sold to marine parks and aquariums, but the majority are slaughtered on shore for meat. Local fishers say the hunt is part of their traditional culture.