Video hints Japan abetting illegal ivory trade: conservationists


TOKYO: Conservation activists on Thursday showed undercover video they say suggests that a “huge loophole” in Japanese law enforcement is hindering efforts to rein in illegal ivory trading. Experts say most illegal ivory heads for China, where it is seen as a status symbol. By some estimates the country accounts for as much as 70 percent of global demand. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, or CITES, banned international ivory trade in 1989. Japan also prohibits cross-border trade and authorities say ivory bought and sold inside the country was legally obtained before the ban or under special arrangements with African countries. But the US-based Environmental Investigation Agency, a campaign group, covertly filmed four ivory traders in different cities in Japan who showed no hesitation in selling ivory to Chinese buyers. The Japanese traders acted “knowing the tusks would be illegally exported to China”, EIA said in a statement. An undercover EIA investigator presented himself as a Chinese buyer and explicitly showed that he was willing to send ivory to China, EIA president Allan Thornton told reporters as the group showed the footage.



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