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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

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.

Elephant and baby 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. Learn more about Japan's illegal ivory exports here. 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. 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.

Our Approach

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.

Related Press Releases, Blogs, and Letters

Letter: NGO Appeal to Tokyo for Urgent Measures on Ivory

Japanese Retailers Willing to Sell Ivory Hanko for Illegal Export

Tokyo urged to resurrect ivory trade assessment

Letter: Appeal to Tokyo's Governor Koike for Ivory Market Closure

Thirty Years Since the International Ivory Ban, Say Goodbye to Ivory Hanko

Japan’s Ivory Trade Faces Intensifying Opposition at Home and Abroad

End of an Era: Yahoo! Japan Ceases Ivory Sales

Japan’s Ivory Trade Faces Intensifying Opposition at Home and Abroad

Decision by Yahoo! Japan to End Ivory Sales Celebrated by Elephant Advocates

One Year Out from 2020 Tokyo Games, NGOs Appeal to Tokyo Governor to End Ivory Trade

Japan’s Latest Tokyo 2020 Supporter Leads the World’s Elephant Ivory Sales

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio asks Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike to support a ban on Japan’s ivory trade

Legal Markets Like Those in Japan Enable Traders to Launder Illegal Ivory and Frustrate Enforcement

Elephant and baby

EIA Calls on Japan to Urgently Close its Ivory Market: Government’s New Proposed Measures Fail to Protect Africa’s Elephants

Investigation Reveals Hanko Demand Drives Japan's Illegal Ivory Trade

In Japan, the Ivory Commerce Times are a Changin’

EIA Applauds Japan’s AEON for Elephant Ivory Phase-out

Japan's Internet Retail Giant Rakuten Ichiba Ceasing Ivory Sales

Ivory Traders Linked to Yahoo! Japan Exposed in Illegal Ivory Activity

Fraudulent Tusk Registration Fuels Ivory Trade in Japan

Exposed: The Dirty Secrets of Japan’s Illegal Ivory Trade

Japanese Traders Offer Ivory Tusks to Chinese Buyers for Illegal Export

EIA Condemns Japan’s Ivory Tusk Registration Campaign

Japanese Wildlife Official Promoted Illegal Ivory Trade

EIA Demands Closure of Japan’s Ivory Market Following New Evidence of Illegal Ivory Trade

On Eve of Tokyo Wildlife Symposium, Environmentalists Call on Japan to Ban Domestic Ivory Trade

Japan's Plan to Increase Ivory Trade Poses Threat to Success of China's Domestic Ivory Ban

Global Conservation Coalition Appeals to Japanese Prime Minister to Ban Domestic Ivory Trade

Environmentalists Commend China for Closing Ivory Stores and Factories, Urge Japan to Take Similar Steps to End Ivory Trade

LETTER: U.S. House Of Representatives letter to Japan Regarding Ivory

Blood e-Commerce: Rakuten’s profits from the slaughter of elephants and whales

LETTER: To SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son

LETTER: Coalition Urges Japanese Prime Minister to Ban Domestic Ivory Trade

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Recent Reports

NGO Appeal to Tokyo for Urgent Measures on Ivory
EIA and 25 international non-government environmental and conservation organizations sent a letter February 18, 2021 to follow up on a previous appeal from March 2020. Our organizations encourage the closure of Tokyo's ivory market and also recommend some actions the Tokyo Metropolitan Government should take before the ivory market can be closed, including during the rescheduled 2020 Olympic Games. The letter can be viewed in English and Japanese.
Willing to Sell: Snapshot Investigations of Ivory Hanko Retailers in Japan
Report: Willing to Sell- Snapshot Investigations of Ivory Hanko Retailers in Japan

Recent Press Releases

Japanese Retailers Willing to Sell Ivory Hanko for Illegal Export
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.
Tokyo urged to resurrect ivory trade assessment
Elephant advocates worldwide are urging the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, under Governor Yuriko Koike’s leadership, to complete Tokyo’s elephant ivory trade assessment
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