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How Ivory Hanko Destroyed Africa's Elephants and Drives Japan's Illegal Ivory Trade

Japan’s demand for hanko made of elephant ivory is a modern phenomenon driven by the country’s ivory industry. Hanko is the Japanese term for the cylindrical name stamps used commonly throughout Japanese society to conduct many types of personal and professional business, much like handwritten signatures are used in the west. Today, Japan is the world’s largest legal domestic ivory market and ivory hanko account for 80 percent of Japan’s ivory consumption.

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Recent Blog Posts

Still Waiting for Action: Tokyo's Ivory Trade Assessment
08/11/2021
The reality of the scope and impact of COVID-19 hit home for much of the world when the Tokyo 2020 Games were postponed. A year later and looking far different than ever expected or hoped, the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games finally arrived. As the host of the 2020 Games, Tokyo has come under increased scrutiny for its legal market for elephant ivory. Even as the Games were underway, the influential capital city faced mounting international pressure to close its legal ivory market for good. For World Elephant Day 2021, in between the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics, we take a look at where Tokyo stands in doing its part to protect the world's elephants from the threats of ivory trade and poaching. 
Thirty Years Since the International Ivory Ban, Say Goodbye to Ivory Hanko
01/10/2020
Around 20,000 elephants have been killed every year in Africa, for the past decade at least, to supply the global trade in ivory. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) decided to end international ivory trade in 1989. This year marks thirty years since the ban entered into effect, on January 18, 1990. Still, why does the poaching continue?

Recent Reports

Letter: NGOs Make Recommendations for Tokyo Ivory Market Closure
10/07/2021
EIA and 30 international non-government environmental and conservation organizations sent a letter October 7, 2021, following up on previous appeals to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government (TMG). Our organizations continue to urge Tokyo to close the market for elephant ivory and make specific recommendations in the letter to the TMG for moving forward. The letter can be viewed in English and Japanese.
Letter: NGO Appeal to the Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games
06/25/2021
: EIA, JTEF, and HSI appeal to the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee President and Governor of Tokyo to take action to prevent illegal trade and export of elephant ivory products

Recent Press Releases

Tokyo Fumbles Short-Term Ivory Trade Action
06/25/2021
Conservation, environmental and animal welfare groups bemoaned measures announced today by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government to address Tokyo’s illegal ivory trade as a missed opportunity. Tokyo’s short-term plan is focused only on consumer awareness and falls dramatically short of expectations for substantive action, instead replicating previous failed awareness efforts by Japan’s national government.
Japanese Retailers Willing to Sell Ivory Hanko for Illegal Export
12/17/2020
Investigations of Japanese hanko retailers revealed that many are willing to sell an ivory product knowing that it will be exported internationally despite most being aware that ivory export is illegal.