Yahoo! JAPAN's Measures and Views on Ivory Products in Japan

Based on the fact that Yahoo! JAPAN allows the legal sales of ivory products in its e-commerce services (namely, YAHUOKU! and Yahoo! Shopping), there are some misunderstood reports that Yahoo! JAPAN is gaining its earnings from illegal transactions. Yahoo! JAPAN has a zero-tolerance policy against any illegal transactions and does not allow acts that lead to the poaching and extinction of elephants.

Yahoo! JAPAN has examined the opinions that Yahoo! JAPAN permitting the handling of ivory products in its e-commerce services is driving the wild elephants into extinction. However, we believe that these opinions are based on misunderstandings. We would like to hereby take this opportunity to convey our views and indicate facts that can be objectively verified.

Please note that Yahoo! JAPAN has recognized the importance of the conservation of endangered wildlife and has continued to cooperate with the relevant ministries and agencies of the Japanese Government such as the Ministry of the Environment, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, the investigative agencies; and NGOs, and we will continue to fortify these cooperative relationships.

1. Domestic trade in ivory
Japan bans the export and import of ivories and the domestic distribution volume of ivories has not increased. The trade of ivories and ivory products that exist in Japan can be conducted legally. Trading of ivories is appropriately controlled by government agencies through a registration system and a notification system of sellers.

Opinions criticizing the trade of ivories in Japan are based on the assertion that Japan is being a recipient of poached ivories by providing a marketplace for them. However, as mentioned before, the reality is that the volume of ivories that exist in Japan has not increased and the market of ivories has not expanded. There are some speculations that some ivories are smuggled into Japan and are not traded legitimately. However, smuggling is exposed by investigative agencies, and the number of smuggling has decreased. Thus, there is no evidence to suggest that there is an increase in inflow due to smuggling.

There are also misperceptions that the volume of ivories that exist in Japan is increasing because the volume of ivories registered for domestic trading is increasing. Ivories that had already existed in Japan prior to the ban on the export and import of ivories and that are not subject to trade or transfer, are not obliged to be registered. The number of registrations increases only when the ivories are transferred, such as by inheritance, and are registered and thus does not reflect the increase in the total volume of ivories in Japan.

Please refer to this link for the view of the Japanese government related to ivory transactions in Japan mentioned above.

2. Yahoo! JAPAN's views
Yahoo! JAPAN does not allow transactions that lead to the poaching and extinction of wildlife. We only permit legal transactions of ivories in accordance with the Japanese law which was enacted to conserve the endangered species. Moreover, in our e-commerce services, our patrol team monitors the listing of ivories and if the team finds a product that is not appropriately displayed with a registration card, it immediately deletes the listing, and also cooperates with the government agencies.

3. Conclusion
The opinions we are currently receiving reflect one value. Yahoo! JAPAN believes that one of the important values of the Internet is that opinions from different backgrounds in law, culture, principles, ideologies, etc. are openly exchanged. Nonetheless, we believe that misleading assertions using sensational photographs that have no relevance to the transactions that are conducted in Yahoo! JAPAN are inappropriate and that such assertions do not result in the solving of problems. Yahoo! JAPAN strongly understands the importance of preventing the extinction of endangered wildlife and will continue to strengthen the cooperation with the relevant ministries and agencies, as well as NGOs that are dedicated to the conservation of wildlife.