EIA campaigns for the end of Japan’s ivory trade by exposing the reality of Japan’s broken domestic ivory trade controls, which are ineffective at preventing illegal ivory from entering the market. We advocate for market closure and work towards this end with partners in Japan and internationally.
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
Nations across the globe are closing their domestic ivory markets to protect elephants from the trade in ivory, including the United States, China, and the United Kingdom, among others. Japan now hosts the world’s largest legal ivory market, and its controls are ridden with loopholes that enable illegal trade activity.
Japan has long played a prominent role in the illegal ivory trade and elephant poaching crisis driven by the trade in ivory. EIA calculates that since the 1970s, Japan has imported ivory from more than 262,000 African elephants. In the 1980s, Japan was the leading consumer of elephant ivory from Africa, most it from poached elephants imported through trade loopholes.
Japan has been unable to control its domestic ivory market and illegal ivory continues to enter Japan’s trade and be illegally exported to countries like China. In addition to facilitating ivory laundering, Japan’s open market stimulates demand and makes effective enforcement impossible. Japan must align with the international community and take steps to close its domestic ivory market before hosting millions of visitors in 2020 for the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games. Japanese retail industry leaders like Rakuten, Aeon, and Yahoo! Japan have acted to cease ivory sales, and their role in Japan's porous and problematic domestic ivory market.
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