National

Rakuten bans ivory sales via online mall as activist outcry grows

Kyodo

E-commerce company Rakuten Inc. has banned the sale of ivory items at its shopping site amid criticism from environmental activists that illegal trade in ivory is rampant on the internet, a company official said Thursday.

On Saturday, Rakuten changed its terms of use to ban sellers who use its mall from listing ivory products on their sites, with a grace period of roughly a month. The sale of products that make use of sea turtle parts has also been banned.

International trade in African elephant parts has been banned, but with ivory poaching worsening in recent years, calls have been mounting for a ban on domestic trade as well.

The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, or CITES, also known as the Washington Convention, adopted a resolution last year calling for all signatories to close their domestic ivory markets. But Japan, a party to CITES, has left its ivory market open while deciding to impose tighter rules.

Rakuten decided to ban ivory sales on its online mall in response to mounting international calls for such a measure, the company official said.

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