Japan, once described as an ecological outlaw in a civilised world, faced punishment in March 1991 for its role in endangering the hawksbill sea turtle. The US administration threatened to restrict import of all wildlife products from Japan, including pearl import worth US $53 million, unless the Japanese mended their ways. It took only a few months for Japan to cave in. About 2,000 people in Japan are employed in a US$ 125 million-a-year cottage industry that fashions expensive eyeglass frames and jewellery from the shell of hawksbill turtles. The US administration's action was the first taken under a 1967 law, which authorises the US President to impose sanctions against any country that violates the international programme to protect endangered marine animals.
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