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The Dirty Secrets of Japan’s Illegal Ivory Trade

To read EIA's report in Japanese, click here.

EIA's report, The Dirty Secrets of Japan's Illegal Ivory Trade, reveals a 20-year history of broken commitments by Japan to enact effective controls to prevent poached tusks from being sold domestically or for illegal export. The report follows shocking new elephant census data revealing a 30% decline from 2007 to 2014 in populations in 15 of 18 African nations surveyed. This amounts to an unsustainable 8% annual decline, which threatens the species’ long term survival.

The report reveals:

• The identities of four Japanese ivory companies that admitted to undercover EIA investigators to conducting daily ivory sales to Chinese buyers and boasted of the vast amounts of ivory being illegally exported to China and Hong Kong

• Thirty of 37 Japanese ivory traders contacted by an undercover investigator offered to engage in some form of illegal activity to buy, sell, or fraudulently register a tusk that did not qualify for registration

• That most of Japan’s ivory tusk imports dating from before the 1989 ban on international trade in elephant ivory were from poached elephants. As a result, the government’s tusk registration scheme is effectively a tool for granting amnesty to large quantities of pre-1989 poached ivory

• An influential report by the wildlife trade monitoring group, TRAFFIC, supporting Japan’s 1997 bid to reopen ivory trade found that Japan could not control ivory trade, but the conclusions were changed and supported Japan’s successful bid to reopen ivory trade

Download the report in English here.

To download the report in other languages, please select your desired language from the list below.

Japanese

French

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