By exposing Yahoo! Japan as the world’s largest internet ivory retailer, EIA campaigns to pressure Yahoo! Japan to end all ivory product sales.
Stopping Yahoo! Japan’s Sales of Elephant Ivory
Yahoo! Japan is the largest internet retailer of ivory in the world. In 2015, Yahoo! Japan witnessed its largest sales of elephant ivory products in at least a decade in terms of volume of ivory sold, value, and quantity of whole tusks. Yahoo! Japan hides behind Japan’s legal domestic ivory trade, but Japan has failed to meet its international commitments to control ivory trade and is leading efforts to oppose international efforts to ban ivory trade worldwide. Unregistered, and thus, illegal, ivory is commonly sold on Yahoo! Japan’s online shopping and auction sites. Ivory purchased on the internet, particularly from Yahoo! Japan, has also been implicated in seizures of ivory illegally exported to China. Ivory sales are on the rise in Japan, and on Yahoo! Japan. 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. At least 93 percent of all ads on the shopping site were for ivory hanko name seals – known to be produced in significant numbers from illegal ivory tusks.
While nations are pushing to legally close down trade at the international and domestic levels, retailers can and should act responsibly and close down their online marketplaces. Other leading internet retailers have banned ivory sales – Yahoo! Japan is an outlier and needs to change its course and become a friend to the world’s precious wildlife. SoftBank Group Corp. and Yahoo! Inc. are Yahoo! Japan’s two largest shareholder, owning 43% and 35.5% of shares, respectively. SoftBank, the majority shareholder, has the power to pull the plug on Yahoo! Japan’s ivory sales. Yahoo! Inc. needs to leverage its ownership in Yahoo! Japan to secure an end to elephant ivory sales and the stain on Yahoo!’s name.
EIA is campaigning to stop Yahoo! Japan’s increasing ivory sales by shedding light on these gross sales, applying public pressure, and urging its shareholders to take a stand.