Tokyo, Jan. 10 (Jiji Press)–The Tokyo metropolitan government said Friday it will set up an expert panel to discuss measures to prevent ivory and ivory products from being brought out of Japan in violation of the Washington Convention and a related domestic law.
Currently, Japan domestically allows transactions of ivory and ivory goods imported to the country before international ivory trade was banned in 1990 under the convention, formally called the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, or CITES.
Faced with criticism that ivory and ivory products have been purchased by foreign visitors and taken out of the country despite the ban, the metropolitan government decided to set up the panel and let it work out specific measures to prevent the illegal export ahead of an expected influx of foreign visitors for the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games from late July.
By May, the panel is expected to propose preventive measures to the government and draw up ways to make foreigners fully understand that bringing ivory and ivory goods back home is illegal, people familiar with the matter said.
“We hope this will serve as an opportunity for citizens to think about the issue, as well as for the metropolitan government to fulfill its responsibility to the international community,” Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike told a press conference Friday.