Successful bids on ivory items over 700 million yen per year on Yahoo! Auctions.


Tomomi Abe, Asahi Newspaper

Date Published
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Yahoo! Auctions, the largest auction site in Japan, has been abused for the trade in unregistered ivory. International wildlife protection groups demand that Yahoo! Japan, which manages Yahoo! Auctions, prohibits the ivory trade on the site, but the business still continues. 
The Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) based in Washington and London announced the findings of successful bids for ivory and processed ivory products on Yahoo! Auctions last year. The number of successful bids for ivory rapidly increased sevenfold between 2005 through 2015, when it peaked. During this time, the amount of ivory traded is equivalent to approximately 7,000 elephants, with successful bids including bids processed ivory products exceeding 700 million yen in 2015. 
For complete ivory tusks, registration with the Minister of Environment is required, and since June 2014, the registration number which is received with registration is required to be displayed when it is sold on the Internet. But according to the investigation by EIA, half of the ivory items up for auction on Yahoo! Auctions between June 2014 and November 2015 did not clearly display these. 
EIA urged Yahoo! Japan to completely prohibit ivory trade on its auction site this March, saying that this situation has become a hotbed of the illegal ivory trade. On the Internet, 1.45 million people signed on to the petition. 
However, a search for “ivory” on Yahoo! Auctions yields approximately 10,000 ivory items being offered for auction now. Lawyer Masayuki Sakamoto of the NPO corporation Japan Tiger and Elephant Fund points out: “Even recently, there are ivory items without registration information displayed being put up for auction. There is concern that illegal ivory might be circulated through this unregulated trade. 
In response, Yahoo! Japan stated “We do not permit the illegal trade of ivory products whatsoever. The site is patrolled constantly and we want to continue to cooperate with criminal investigation agencies in the future.