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The government decided Monday to revise the law on species preservation to tighten controls on ivory trade.

The current law is directed only at ivory processors, but the planned revision will require ivory wholesalers and retailers to report their trading activities to the central government.

At a meeting of Washington Convention member countries in June, the ban on international trading of ivory was experimentally lifted on condition that Japan tighten controls on ivory trade. The Environment Agency and the Ministry of International Trade and Industry have since studied measures to tighten controls.

The revised law is slated to go into force March 18, 1999, the day before ivory imports from Botswana, Namibia and Zimbabwe will be resumed. All makers and dealers of “hanko” stamps, the primary use for ivory in Japan, will come under control of the revised law.

Currently, processors are required to report imports of ivory pieces longer than 20 cm and weighing more than 20 kg.

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