The Tokyo metropolitan government has established an advisory council on regulating ivory trade to examine existing domestic trading regulations, Governor Yuriko Koike said.
The council was established on Friday as countries around the world have raised concerns that ivory trade is not banned in Japan. “Ivory trade regulations were raised as one of the key topics at the CITES Cop18 held last summer in Geneva. It was decided that nations that have yet to ban ivory trade, including Japan, will be held strictly accountable for their actions,” Koike said.
The council members are — editorial writer of Kyodo News Ida Tetsuji, Professor at Sophia Law School Kitamura Yoshinobu, Gakushuin University Professor Sakaguchi Isao, Kanto Gakuin University Professor Nakaizumi Takuya and Professor at Yokohama National University Matsuda Hiroyuki.
“This newly established advisory council will examine existing domestic trading regulations and countermeasures which the Tokyo metropolitan government should engage in and will push to implement possible measures to be taken in a swift fashion. In preparation, we will survey Tokyo businesses in order to ascertain the current situation relating to ivory trade within Tokyo,” Koike said.
“Due to the recent decline in the number of African elephants, poaching and illegal trading for their ivory, even a growing number of the consumer nations of ivory have begun banning the trade of it,” she said.
Japan has traditionally used ivory in making personal seals, plectrums for traditional musical instruments such as shamisen, furnishings, ornaments and other things. As Japan is hosting the Summer Olympics later this year, there is a possibility of an increase of ivory products as gifts by tourists or they could be illegally exported.
The government has been emphasising that Japan’s ivory was imported prior to the international ban stipulated by the Washington Convention that the domestic market is strictly controlled. It is not a fact that this contributes to the poaching issues that African countries have been facing.