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By exposing loopholes in Japan’s domestic ivory controls, EIA is working to shut down Japan’s problematic ivory market.

Ending Japan’s Role in the Ivory Trade

Japan has long played a prominent role in the illegal ivory trade and elephant poaching crisis. In the 1980s, Japan was the leading consumer of elephant ivory from Africa, most it from poached elephants imported through trade loopholes. The 1989 international ban on commercial ivory trade allowed elephant populations to recover from this crisis, but it was unfortunately undermined by two approved “one-off” international sales that confused consumers and stimulated demand for ivory.

Japan is the only country in the world that was permitted twice to import ivory purchased after the 1989 ban. Unfortunately, these permitted imports were never justified – Japan has been unable to control its domestic ivory system and illegal ivory continues to enter Japan’s domestic market. Today, Japan’s ivory trade remains problematic and while demand has dropped from the high levels of the 1980s, current demand levels are unsustainable and appear to be rising.

Though frequently highlighted as a model of domestic ivory control, Japan’s system is plagued by loopholes and undercut by weak legislation to such an extent that no meaningful control exists at even the most basic level. The volume of ivory being traded is on the rise, illegal activity is rampant, and abuse of the system is pervasive.

Our Approach

EIA is working to shut down Japan’s domestic ivory market by shedding light on the reality of Japan’s broken domestic ivory trade controls, which are ineffective at preventing illegal ivory from entering the market.

The path is clear: the Japanese market, and all other major markets globally must be shut down on an urgent basis in order to protect elephants from the ivory trade.

Recent Blog Posts

Celebrating the Life's Work of Dame Daphne Sheldrick, Savior of Elephants in Africa
04/20/2018
Last week, the wildlife conservationist community, and more importantly the world’s elephants, lost one of their most important and avid champions when Daphne Sheldrick, savior of hundreds of orphaned African elephants, died on April 12 in Nairobi at the age of 83.
EIA Condemns Establishment of Rhino Horn Trade Desk
03/06/2018
EIA condemns the establishment of Rhino Horn Trade Africa (RHTA), an initiative launched yesterday by the South Africa-based Private Rhino Owners Association (PROA).

Recent Reports

How Ivory Hanko Destroyed Africa's Elephants and drives Japan's Illegal Ivory Trade
10/10/2018
Japan’s demand for hanko made of elephant ivory is a modern phenomenon driven by the country’s ivory industry.
象牙のハンコ:日本の違法な象牙取引&アフリカ ゾウの悲劇の元凶
10/10/2018
日本における象牙製ハンコへの需要の興りは、 象牙業界がもたらした現代的な現象である。「ハ ンコ」は、円筒形をした、氏名を押捺するスタンプ である。

Recent Press Releases

Investigation Reveals Hanko Demand Drives Japan's Illegal Ivory Trade
10/10/2018
Nearly 200 retailers in Japan are willing to sell ivory hanko knowing the sought-after name seals are destined for export which is illegal, a new investigation reveals.
EIA Applauds IWC For Passing Resolution Addressing Underwater Noise Impacts to Protect Whales
09/12/2018
The Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) commends the International Whaling Commission (IWC) for passing by consensus a new Resolution focused on addressing the impacts of anthropogenic underwater noise on cetaceans.

Recent Videos

The Canary in the Coal Mine: Cook Inlet Beluga Whales
09/15/2018
A short video about the Cook Inlet beluga whales and the problems they face.
Beluga Whales in Cook Inlet, Alaska
09/19/2017
A short video about the endangered population of beluga whales in the Cook Inlet
Tell Yahoo! Japan to Stop Ivory Sales!
Yahoo! Japan is the largest internet seller of ivory in the world. Lend your voice and tell Yahoo! Japan to cease all ivory sales to protect elephants!
Follow us @eiaenvironment on twitter for the latest updates!
SHARE THE LATEST: The Dirty Secrets of Japan’s Illegal Ivory Trade
Support Domestic Ivory Trade Bans!
Don’t Buy From Icelandic Whalers
Help EIA stop ivory trade to protect elephants!