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High volumes of ivory continue to be sold online in Japan

11 / 08 / 2017, Mongabaycom News

Thousands of jewelry, seals, scrolls and other items made of elephant ivory continue to be sold online in Japan each week, concludes a new report by TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring network. In just four weeks in May and June, 2017, nearly 10,000 ivory items were sold on Yahoo Auction, one of Japan’s largest e-commerce platforms, researchers found. The ivory products included jewelry, hankos (printing seals used to sign documents, contracts, and other paperwork), scrolls, fans, chopsticks, teaspoons and musical instruments. About 22 polished and carved elephant tusks were also advertised and sold during the survey period. These four-week transactions amount to over JPY 45.2 million ($407,000), the report says. Hundreds of ivory products were also advertised on other popular e-commerce websites like Mercari, Rakuten-Ichiba, Rakuma and Yahoo Shopping. An average of 143 new advertisements for ivory products were uploaded every week on Mercari, for example, which is Japan’s leading online CtoC (Customer to Customer) market. “While online ivory sales remain legal in Japan, the sheer scale of the trade warrants scrutiny to prevent illicit activities,” the authors write. Japan was the world’s biggest importer of ivory in the late 1980s. Photo by Udayan Dasgupta. In the 1980s, Japan was the world’s biggest ivory importer. Even after the global trade in elephant ivory was banned by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) in 1989, Japan was allowed to legally import several tons of ivory twice: once in 1999 and then in 2008.…

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