An estimated total of 564 kilograms of hawksbill turtle shell were seized by Japanese customs authorities between 2000 and 2019, showing evidence of the continued smuggling of the animals and their parts despite a global trade ban on them for over four decades, the World Wide Fund for Nature said Monday.

The WWF urged Japan to immediately review its current policy as the buying and selling of tortoiseshell items, called bekkō, are allowed in the country and that has driven illegal trade.

"Japanese authorities should strengthen their domestic controls, international cooperation and use of advanced DNA forensics," the WWF, one of the world's largest and independent conservation organizations, said in a report after looking into official data with two other groups.