“Ivory Towers”

Stephen Wiggins Article, Studies Leave a Comment

Ivory Towers – An Assessment of Japan’s Ivory Trade and Domestic Market,” TRAFFIC, December 2017

Ivory Towers

TRAFFIC reports that Japan’s on-going ivory trading is undermining China’s proposed ivory ban, fuelling demand and the poaching of elephants:

Japan remains one of the world’s largest domestic ivory markets, and is home to an active, though shrinking, ivory manufacturing industry. The country also boasts significant stockpiles of raw tusks in private ownership—a cultural legacy from its past trade.”

At CoP17, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Fauna and Flora (CITES) issued a draft decision (CITES Res. Cof. 10.10) for all 183 Parties to the Convention (including Japan) which:

RECOMMENDS that all Parties and non-Parties in whose jurisdiction there is a legal domestic market for ivory that is contributing to poaching or illegal trade, take all necessary legislative, regulatory and enforcement measures to close their domestic markets for commercial trade in raw and worked ivory as a matter of urgency.”

On 11 September 2016, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Motion 007 called for the “Closure of domestic markets for elephant ivory:

The IUCN “URGES the governments of countries in which there is a legal domestic market for elephant ivory, or any domestic commerce in elephant ivory, to make all necessary legislative and regulatory efforts to close their domestic markets for commercial trade in raw or worked elephant ivory.”

It is long overdue for Japan to comply.

“Japan’s contribution to illegal ivory trade dynamics can no longer be ignored,” said Keiko Wakao, Head of TRAFFIC’s Japan Office. “This report should be seen as the final straw for Japan’s domestic ivory market. TRAFFIC will be working closely with the relevant Japanese authorities and ivory trade stakeholders to monitor progress in line with CITES Res. Conf. 10.10” – TRAFFIC, 20 December 2017

Further Reading

Japan’s inaction on illegal ivory exports threatens Chinese ban, report says,” The Guardian, 21 December 2017

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