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Rakuten and Ivory: Success for Elephants

In a major victory for elephants Rakuten Ichiba, Japan’s largest e-commerce company, ceased ivory sales on July 1, 2017. Starting in 2014, EIA led a campaign calling on Rakuten to end its sales of elephant ivory. Japan has one of the world’s largest domestic ivory markets, and Rakuten was once Japan’s leading online retailer of ivory products. A 2014 EIA investigation found that Rakuten’s website supported more than 28,000 ads for elephant ivory items and offered a range of ivory products for sale including whole tusks and musical instrument accessories, though the vast majority of ivory products were hanko name seals.

Despite a landmark decision at CITES CoP17 in 2016 to close down domestic ivory markets, the Government of Japan has refused to ban ivory sales or acknowledge the role Japan plays in the illegal ivory trade and poaching of elephants. Instead, private sector companies like Rakuten have stepped up and taken matters into their own hands to protect elephants. Rakuten’s laudable decision to ban ivory sales demonstrates the important role that Japanese industry can play in the fight to save the world’s elephants.


Supporting Documents

• Learn more about Rakuten’s decision to cease ivory sales by reading EIA’s press release and associated blog post
• Check out Blood e-Commerce, our 2014 report on Rakuten’s ivory sales
• Read about Japan’s domestic ivory market and how it contributes to elephant poaching and illegal trade in our two recent reports: Japan’s Illegal Ivory Trade (2015) and The Dirty Secrets of Japan’s Illegal Ivory Trade (2016)

Recent Blog Posts

Japan's Rakuten Closes the Door on Ivory Sales
07/12/2017
As Japan's largest online retailer ends its ivory sales, EIA takes a look back on how we got here.

Recent Press Releases

EIA Applauds Japan’s AEON for Elephant Ivory Phase-out
09/05/2017
The Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) praised AEON’s official announcement that it will phase out all sales of elephant ivory by tenants in all of AEON’s numerous malls across Japan by March 2020.
EIA Condemns Japan’s Ivory Tusk Registration Campaign
08/29/2017
As the Government of Japan announces that it will launch a campaign to register privately-owned ivory, EIA condemns the move due to Japan's highly illegal trade.