Yahoo! Japan and Ivory: A Win for Elephants
After years of leading Japan’s online sales of elephant ivory products, on August 28, 2019, Yahoo! Japan announced that all sales of elephant ivory would be ending effective November 1, 2019. After campaigning for a decade to urge Yahoo! Japan to cease all ivory sales, EIA is pleased to see this positive development.
For years, Yahoo! Japan hid behind the Government of Japan’s legal domestic ivory trade, but Japan has failed to control its own domestic market. Unregistered, and thus, illegal, ivory was commonly sold on Yahoo! Japan’s online shopping and auction sites. At least 93 percent of all ads on the shopping site were for ivory hanko name seals, which were known to be produced in significant numbers from illegal ivory tusks. In 2015, ivory sales on Yahoo! Japan Auctions earned nearly US$7 million (¥715 million) and on a single day in 2015, Yahoo! Japan’s shopping site carried approximately 6,000 different ivory ads worth more than US$2.5 million.
Ivory purchased on the internet, particularly from Yahoo! Japan, has been implicated in seizures of ivory illegally exported to China. In 2019, these illegal export seizures increased, as EIA highlighted in May 2019 as well as before and during the CITES 18th Conference of the Parties in August 2019, days before Yahoo! Japan’s announcement.
Japan’s industry leaders, such as Yahoo! Japan, Rakuten and Aeon, are taking progressive steps forward which will have far reaching impact on protecting elephants from the trade in ivory. Meanwhile, the Government of Japan continues to support its domestic ivory trade.
Just before ending ivory sales, Yahoo! Japan became a recent Tokyo 2020 sponsor. Read our statement here.
See some previous press releases and publicly available letters, including Ivory Traders Linked to Yahoo! Japan Exposed in Illegal Ivory Activity, SoftBank refuses to stop selling elephant, dolphin and whale products on Yahoo! Japan, LETTER: Request for SoftBank to End Yahoo! Japan’s Elephant Ivory Advertisements and Sales, and NGO Coalition Presses SoftBank to Stop Yahoo! Japan’s Elephant Ivory Sales.
Check out an archived Action Alert on Yahoo! Japan.
Check out our landmark 2010 report, Yahoo! and the Sale of Whale, Dolphin and Elephant Products, and our 2012 report, Killing for Commerce.