Japan Tiger Elephant Organization

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PRESS RELEASE: Tokyo Committee on Ivory Trade Regulation Could Backfire; A Recommendation to the Governor Unlikely
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TOKYO (February 9, 2022)— Elephant advocates worldwide sent a letter to Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike to warn that the “Advisory Committee on Regulation of Ivory Trade” she established two years ago is now failing to achieve its goal: producing a specific recommendation on regulation of ivory trade to the Governor. In a move that suggested a willingness to take stronger action on ivory trade than the national government, in early 2020 the Tokyo Metropolitan Government (TMG) announced the development of the “Advisory Committee on Regulation of Ivory Trade”, comprised of experts from different fields including law, economy, ecology, media and conservation, to explore and discuss measures to prevent illegal ivory trade and export.The international community including the range states of…

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Donations from Sophie Hawkins
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Thank you for the Donations from Sophie Hawkins, a fashion designer based in the UK! Sophie Hawkins, a sustainable fashion designer collaborated with a denim factory in Okayama, Japan to produce her own line of jumpsuits. Since she wanted to promote conservation of endangered tigers, she found JTEF on Instagram and contacted us about supporting our work. With the onset of the pandemic in early 2020, JTEF had to suspend participation in all face-to-face events, which meant that we took a huge loss in our fundraising efforts here in Japan. Getting a message from Sophie during that time was so encouraging! At that time, she was just getting her project up and running, using crowdfunding, she was able to launch…

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2020 Olympics Games are now over. Focus on the closure of TOKYO ivory market.
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31 organizations in the world jointly sent a letter to the Tokyo Governor, Yuriko Koike to take steps to ban most elephant ivory sales. October 7, 2021The Honorable Yuriko KoikeGovernor of TokyoSecretarial Section, General Affairs Division, Office of the Governor for Policy PlanningTokyo Metropolitan Government8-1 Nishi-Shinjuku 2-chomeShinjuku-Ku, Tokyo 163-8001Japan Dear Governor Koike:Congratulations to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government (TMG) for successfully hosting the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games. We appreciate your tireless efforts to meet the many challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Now that the Games are over, we urge Tokyo and Japan to focus on pending matters of global importance, including the assessment of Tokyo’s ivory trade policies and establishing measures to eliminate the illegal ivory trade and, thereby,…

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PRESS RELEASE: Japan’s Domestic Bekko Market Dependent on Smuggled Tortoiseshell Risking the Extinction of Hawksbill Turtles
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Tokyo, Japan – June 30, 2021 Tokyo, Japan – July 1, 2021 A report is released today by the Japan Tiger and Elephant Fund (JTEF): “Dark Side of the Everlasting Tortoiseshell-Crafting in Japan”. The hawksbill turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata) is one of the seven species of sea turtles and is listed as “Critically Endangered” (CR) in the IUCN Red List. One of the major threats to hawksbills is illegal take for the purpose of commercial trade in its tortoiseshell; used exclusively as a raw material for crafts called “bekko zaiku (crafts)” in Japan. Japan was famously the world’s largest country importing tortoiseshell. All populations of hawksbill turtles were listed in Appendix I of the “Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species…

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Press Release: Tokyo Fumbles Short-Term Ivory Trade Action
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TOKYO – Conservation, environmental and animal welfare groups bemoaned measures announced today by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government to address Tokyo’s illegal ivory trade as a missed opportunity. Tokyo’s short-term plan is focused only on consumer awareness and falls dramatically short of expectations for substantive action, instead replicating previous failed awareness efforts by Japan’s national government. The measures include an awareness campaign to educate consumers and recommend that registered ivory retailers alert customers about the illegality of ivory export – all efforts that the national government has undertaken for more than three years and which have failed to stem illegal ivory exports. Amy Zets Croke, senior policy analyst at the Environmental Investigation Agency said: “These ‘new’ measures in Tokyo are just…

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PRESS RELEASE: Threat to Critically Endangered Hawksbill Turles: Japan’s Involvement in the Illegal Tortoiseshell Trade
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May 31, 2021 TOKYO—WWF, TRAFFIC and Japan Tiger and Elephant Fund (JTEF) released today a report: ”SHELL SHOCKED: JAPAN’S ROLE IN THE ILLEGAL TORTOISESHELL TRADE”. It reveals that recently the tortoiseshell of hawksbill turtles (Eretmochelys imbricata), has been increasingly smuggled into Japan. This active market in Japan of tortoiseshell crafts, called “Bekko craft” is contributing to the illegal international trade. Hawksbill turtles are one of the seven species of marine turtles and are listed as “Critically Endangered” (CR) in the IUCN Red List, After World War II, Japan grew to be the largest country importing tortoiseshell equivalent to tens of thousands of hawksbills every year. Japan bowed to international pressure and officially stopped importing hawksbill tortoiseshell in 1993, when more…

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PRESS RELEASE: Legal Sales of Ivory in Tokyo Drive Illegal Exports
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New Investigation by WildAid and the Japan Tiger and Elephant Fund. Tokyo, Japan – March 26, 2021 A report released today by WildAid and the Japan Tiger and Elephant Fund (JTEF)­ documents ivory businesses in Tokyo targeting Chinese customers, who knowingly operate with the assumption that the purchased ivory items will eventually be exported, evading direct involvement in illegal export, and complying with the laws and regulations on domestic ivory trade. ‘TOKYO IVORY Catering to International Orders: An investigation behind the scenes of persistent illegal ivory exports’ https://www.jtef.jp/wp/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/WildAid_JTEF_JP.pdfdocuments undercover investigations conducted in 2018 and 2019 into two companies managed by Chinese nationals. The first company revealed that the ivory items bought by customers at its shop had been seized by…

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PRESS RELEASE: Japanese Retailers Willing to Sell Ivory Hanko for Illegal Export
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TOKYO, JAPAN – Investigations of Japanese hanko retailers revealed that many are willing to sell an ivory product knowing that it will be exported internationally despite most being aware that ivory export is illegal. A new report by the Japan Tiger and Elephant Fund (JTEF) and the Washington, DC-based Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), Willing to Sell: Snapshot Investigations of Ivory Hanko Retailers in Japan, details results from two investigations into ivory hanko retailers. The main findings of the investigations, which took place in summer and fall of 2020, found: In three large urban areas in Japan, 38 percent of the retailers were willing to sell an ivory hanko knowing it would be illegally exported. In 2018, the same retailers had…

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