Yahoo! Japan announces end of ivory sales; spells the end of Japan’s ivory trade, says Humane Society International

Humane Society International / Japan

GENEVA—Yahoo! Japan announced last night that it will cease selling elephant ivory products on its e-commerce platforms beginning November 1, 2019. Global animal charity Humane Society International welcomed the news from Geneva where its wildlife team is attending the 18th Conference of the Parties of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

Yahoo! Japan’s announcement follows an intense ivory trade debate at CITES against the backdrop of the continued alarming rate of elephant poaching and transnational ivory trafficking. Countries such as Japan that still have open elephant ivory markets are required to report on their measures taken to prevent illegal trade.

Iris Ho, senior wildlife specialist at Humane Society International, said: “Yahoo! Japan’s decision spells the end of Japan’s domestic ivory market in the near future. We applaud Yahoo! Japan for recognizing the irrefutable fact that any legal market serves as a convenient cover for the sale of illegal ivory, so it is hugely significant that their online platforms will no longer contribute to this devastating trade. We now call on the government of Japan to swiftly move towards the complete closure of its domestic ivory market so that the millions of international tourists who will descend on Japan for the 2020 Olympic Summer Games can visit a Japan that is free of elephant ivory trade.”

HSI has long campaigned for the closure of Japan’s domestic ivory trade. In 2018 the charity teamed up with Yomiuri Giants baseball player and animal lover Yoh Daikan to call on the Japanese public to eschew ivory to protect elephants from the poaching and ivory trafficking epidemic. Yoh starred in a Japanese language video campaign. Download Yoh’s video here:


  • Japan has more than 16,000 registered ivory retailers, manufacturers and wholesalers.
  • From 2011 to 2016 more than two tons of ivory from Japan was confiscated by Chinese authorities.
  • Japan’s ivory market facilitates transnational ivory trafficking and undermines the enforcement efforts of neighboring China as well as other nearby countries that are closing their domestic ivory markets.
  • The African Elephant Coalition, representing 32 African nations including elephant range states, is appealing to Japan to close its domestic ivory market.
  • Many countries and jurisdictions have announced or implemented measures prohibiting or restricting domestic ivory trade, such as the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Luxemburg, Belgium, China, Hong Kong SAR and Taiwan.
  • The Great Elephant Census found that between 2007 and 2014, poachers were primarily responsible for the killing of 144,000 elephants due to supply the illegal ivory trade. African Savanna elephant populations experienced a 30 percent decline during this time, with only approximately 352,271 elephants remaining in the surveyed countries.

Video and photos: download elephant and ivory assets here and here.


Media contact:
United Kingdom: Wendy Higgins, +44 (0)7989 972 423


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