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The Public-Private Council for the Promotion of Appropriate Ivory Trade Measures Compiled a Report Titled "Current State and Further Efforts Regarding Ivory Trade in Japan"

September 16, 2016

On September 16, 2016, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) hereby announces that the Public-Private Council for the Promotion of Appropriate Ivory Trade Measures compiled information on the current status of the ivory trade and on future actions to be taken by participating organizations into a report titled "Current State and Further Efforts Regarding Ivory Trade in Japan."

1. Objective of the Public-Private Council

In May 2016, the Public-Private Council for the Promotion of Appropriate Ivory Trade Measures (hereinafter referred to as the "Council") was established, encompassing stakeholders from the government, industry, NGO and academia. The objectives of the Council, which serves as a focal point of expertise from a wide variety of stakeholders, are, amongst others, to further ensure thorough implementation of legal and administrative measures; and to raise public awareness both within Japan and abroad of the various issues pertaining to the trade in ivory and ivory products (hereinafter referred to as "ivory trade").

Following a series of meetings and consultations amongst its constituent stakeholders, the Council has compiled a report on the state of ivory trade and the planned courses of action to be taken by the stakeholders.

Constituent stakeholders

*: Joint secretariat of the Council.

Japanese Government

- Ministry of the Environment (MOE)*

- Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI)*

- National Police Agency (NPA)

- Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA)

- Ministry of Finance (MOF)


- Liaison Group for Tackling Illegal Transactions
Telecommunications Carriers Association (TCA), Telecom Services Association
(TELESA), Japan Internet Providers Association (JAIPA), Japan Cable and
Telecommunications Association (JCTA)

- Japanese Seal Engravers Association

- Association for Seal and Stamp Products Companies of Japan

- Japan Federation of Ivory Arts and Crafts Associations*

- DeNA Co., Ltd.

- Rakuten, Inc.

- Yahoo Japan Corporation*




Professor Nobuo Ishii, Tokyo Woman's Christian University

Professor Yoshio Kaneko, Iwate Prefectural University

2. Overview of the Report

(1) State of ivory trade in Japan

In accordance with the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (hereinafter referred to as "CITES"), international commercial trade in ivory is prohibited as a general rule in Japan under the Foreign Exchange and Foreign Trade Act. Domestic ivory trade is regulated under the Law for the Conservation of Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (hereinafter referred to as "LCES").

While a certain amount of ivory and ivory products that were legally imported in the past exist in Japan, the overall trend in the market size of domestic ivory trade is estimated to be in decline. Taking into account the low number of exposed cases by Japanese customs and the evaluation from the Elephant Trade Information System of the CITES Secretariat, it is unthinkable that large-scale smuggling of ivories into Japan is taking place and that the use of ivories in Japan is contributing to the recent increase in the poaching of African elephants. Nonetheless, bearing in mind the necessity for preventing illegal re-export of ivory from existing domestic market, it is important that Japan continues to thoroughly implement and further strengthen the existing import/export control regime.

(2) Key principles on ivory trade

Any ivory trade should be done in such a manner as to prevent the distribution of poached or illegally sourced ivory. It is also contingent that such trade does not affect conservation efforts regarding African elephants, but instead could contribute to the community development of the range states.

Given this understanding, the constituent stakeholders of the Council have agreed to the following key principles on ivory trade:

- Recognition of the responsibilities in dealing with precious wildlife species.

- Contribution to conservation efforts through the principle of sustainable use.

- Making every effort to have effective management system, enforcement of and compliance with regulations.

- Taking prompt and flexible actions based on scientific and objective findings.

(3) Measures to be taken by the stakeholders

In accordance with the above key principles, the public-sector and private-sector stakeholders of the Council have agreed to take on the following specific measures:

Controlling domestic ivory trade

  • No compromise to actions against illegal business operators [MOE, METI]

  • On-site inspections to be reinforced; strict measures to be taken on violators, including administrative punishments and public disclosure of offenders.

  • Proactive communications to secondhand dealers [MOE, METI]

  • LCES registration procedures to be effectively propagated to secondhand dealers though NPA.

  • Lecture sessions to industry members [Japan Federation of Ivory Arts and Crafts Associations]

  • Lectures by relevant ministries and organizations to be held in order to achieve full understanding of and compliance with LCES regulations.

  • Publicity efforts on certified ivory product marks [MOE, METI]

  • Further efforts to promote certified ivory product marks as stipulated under LCES towards consumers.

  • Eliminating illegal e-commerce [Platform providers, MOE, METI]

  • Effective measures to be taken including voluntary online patrol, elimination of illegally placed items, and banning of exhibitors that tout overseas shipping.

Import and export control

  • Publicity efforts towards industry and travelers [METI, MOF]

  • Customs brokers, logistics operators、and relevant operators urged to thoroughly inform exporters and travelers to make sure that they fully understand the in-general ban on ivory and ivory-product exports

  • Cooperation with regulatory authorities of other countries such as the Chinese custom authorities [METI, MOF]

  • Border control to be strengthened through the sharing of information with the Chinese customs authorities, which have publicized cases of alleged illegal export of ivory from Japan.

Official information provision

  • Promotion on regulatory regimes, status and government position on ivory trade through government webpages [MOE, METI, MOFA]

In addition to the above, the constituent stakeholders will deliberate and consider further measures as necessary to achieve the goal of sustainable and responsible trade in ivory and ivory products.

For Japanese

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