Concealed trade

E-Commerce>>Wildlife • Japan

Published: Saturday 04 July 2015

Rakuten's website showing whale meat products and ivory personal sealsA website selling CDs and DVDs,, has been identified as the world’s biggest online retailer of elephant ivory and whale meat. The website owned by a Japanese company, Rakuten, carries over 28,000 advertisements for ivory and 1,200 for whale products, notes a recent report by the UK-based Environmental Investigation Agency and the Humane Society International (HSI).

Over 95 per cent of the ivory products sold on the website were hanko—carved name seals used to sign official documents—made of ivory. Much of these products are made using illegally-sourced African elephant ivory. “We call on Rakuten subsidiaries in the US, UK, Canada, France, Germany, Austria and elsewhere to urgently press its headquarters in Japan to ban all ads offering ivory and whale products,” said Kitty Block, vice- president of HSI.

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