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By revealing Rakuten as a leading elephant ivory internet retailer, EIA campaigns to end Rakuten’s irresponsible elephant product sales.

Stopping Rakuten Ichiba’s Sales of Elephant Ivory

Rakuten Inc., via its wholly owned Japanese subsidiary Rakuten Ichiba, is one of the world’s leading online traders in elephant ivory. Africa’s elephants are being killed indiscriminately for their tusks to make trinkets – and Rakuten Ichiba is selling them by the thousands. In 2015, EIA documented approximately 6,400 ads for ivory products for sale on Rakuten Ichiba’s shopping site on a single day, with a sales value of US$2.6 million.

Sadly, Japan continues to maintain a legal domestic ivory market and loopholes in its control system allow illegal ivory to be laundered onto the market. Unregistered, and thus, illegal, ivory is making its way onto Rakuten Ichiba. By permitting the sale of elephant ivory products on its platform, Rakuten is stimulating the demand for ivory and enabling the illegal ivory trade.

Global momentum to shut down domestic markets is building and major retail companies worldwide – including Amazon, eBay, Google, Etsy, as well as Asian e-commerce companies Alibaba, Tencent, and Taobao – have already enacted laudable policies to prohibit the sale of elephant ivory products on their sites. It is time for Rakuten to follow suit and immediately ban all sales of elephant products, thereby ending its role in the ivory trade and slaughter of Africa’s elephants. We urge Rakuten to demonstrate its goal of being a progressive global industry leader and ban ivory sales company-wide.

Our Approach

EIA is campaigning to stop Rakuten’s persistent and irresponsible ivory sales by shedding light on these egregious sales and urging its global subsidiaries, company affiliates, and citizen consumers to take a stand.

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