The volume of registrations surged before Japan's internationally maligned ivory market faced new restrictions on July 1 as ivory owners apparently rushed to take advantage of the lax declaration system, officials at the Environment Ministry said Saturday.

The amount of ivory registered in Japan had remained below 20 tons per year until recently, when it soared to about 30 tons in 2018 and about 10 tons through the first half of 2019, the officials said.

Under the modified system, dealers are required to prove via carbon dating that specimens were legally obtained, making ivory from recent poaching impossible to register and sell.