retail site 小売サイト
One of Japan’s largest online retailers has banned the sale of ivory, closing a major marketplace for the controversial trade.
Rakuten is accused of being the world’s largest online retailer for elephant ivory, but will now phase out its sale.
accused of ～ ～で訴えられる
phase out 段階的に廃止
The trade is legal in Japan for items imported before 1989 – but no new stock can be brought into the country.
Many other countries have banned the trade outright over concerns that it contributes to elephant poaching.
contributes 貢献 寄与
Rakuten also banned the sale of sea turtle products on its site, telling AFP news agency it was responding to “growing international concern”.
sea turtle ウミガメ
“We expect it will take 1-2 months for all listings of these prohibited products to be removed,” it said.
On the day of the announcement, a large number of ivory items were still listed for sale, including many carved personal seals known as “hanko”.
Sellers of such items are expected to maintain careful records of their origin, and use only government-regulated ivory stockpiles.
government regulated 政府によって規制された
But activists believe the rules are often circumvented and the precious material is often smuggled across borders.
Yahoo Japan, another site which allows the sale of ivory, has previously come under fire for the practice.
practice 実行 実践 実際
However, a spokesman told Reuters it did not plan to halt the trade, saying: “We don’t think that the legal ivory trade in Japan has any impact on African elephant numbers.”
“It is important to recognise there are cultural differences between different countries,” he added.
African elephant numbers have plummeted in the last century, and there are an estimated 500,000 remaining on the continent.
remaining 残った 残りの
China, a traditional powerhouse in the ivory trade, announced in December that it would ban all ivory activities and trade by the end of 2017.
Conservation groups hailed the decision as “historic” and a “game-changer” – but ivory artists have lamented the loss of a traditional craft.
lamented 嘆く 嘆き悲しむ