The Japan Times
December 23, 2017

Environment Minister Masaharu Nakagawa denies claims that Japan has been a
hotbed for illegal ivory exports even after a wildlife watchdog urged Japan
to stop fueling the internationally outlawed trade practice.

We have been bolstering distribution management in the market and taking
necessary measures,” following a call by the wildlife trade monitoring body
Traffic of the conservation group WWF to shut the market,Nakagawa said

In a study released Wednesday, Traffic said the continued absence of
effective regulations and law enforcement makes Japan a lucrative market
for organized smuggling of ivory to China.

Nakagawa did acknowledge some cases in which Chinese people purchased ivory
in Japan and took it abroad, adding, ?We want to closely monitor the
situation and take further measures if controls need to be strengthened.?
Domestic trade in ivory, used to make seals and accessories, is legal in

The Traffic report revealed how Japan’s antiques and tourist markets are
aiding illegal ivory exports through routine purchases by visitors and
professional dealers. Its review of seizure records showed unlawful exports
of ivory from Japan totaled about 2.4 tons between 2011 and 2016.