Japan is fueling the internationally outlawed ivory trade by failing to curb "rampant" illegal exports to China and inadequately monitoring its own legal but poorly regulated domestic sales, a wildlife trade watchdog said Wednesday.

"The Japanese government needs to make a concerted effort to address its ivory trade issue as a matter of priority," Traffic Japan said in issuing a new investigative report at a news conference in Tokyo.

It specifically urged an immediate ban on Japan's thriving online trade in ivory and a crackdown on shops in tourist areas that sell ivory to mainly Chinese buyers, including professional dealers who shuttle between the two countries.