NHK (Japan)

Japanese authorities are taking steps to tighten control over the trade of ivory, assigning officials nationwide to detect illegal sales.

International ivory trade is in principle banned by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.

As for domestic trade, Japan amended relevant laws and imposed stricter restrictions this month.

Under the new regulations, a whole ivory tusk must be registered by the authorities.

The environment ministry is set to post 26 officials in 11 local offices to increase monitoring of the domestic ivory trade.

The assigned officials had a training session on Wednesday.

Environment Minister Masaharu Nakagawa said he expects their day-to-day activities will contribute to protecting wild animals around the world. Each official was given a certificate necessary to carry out on-site inspections.

The officials will inspect shops dealing in ivory to see whether the operators are registered with the state and are not selling illegal products.