Japan Tiger and Elephant Fund(JTEF)

africanelephant ivory ivory products


Announcing JTEF's Next Events Click here to see our event page.

May 2019 JTEF releases new Ivory report “Compelled to Close: Top 5 Reasons for Closing Japan's Domestic Ivory Market” No Time Should Be Wasted in Closing Japan's Domestic Ivory Market Before CITES CoP18, Ivory Traders Have Pre-empted to Neutralize the Stricter Regulation Coming in July. Click here to download the full report in English. (1385KB).
See the one-page summary of the report by clinking here (31KB).

Iriomote Cats featured in an article "The Risky Fame of a Rare Island Wildcat" by Rachel Nuwer. (Jan 8, 2019) She explains the complex challenges we face, as we work to conserve the remaining pristine bits of nature on an Island that may soon be overrun by tourists. Click Here to Jump to the Hakai Magazine article (English version) (日本語バージョンはこちら)

On October 11, 2018 JTEF hosted the Environmental Investigation Agency's press conference releasing EIA's newest report. If Japan continues its policy to register undocumented elephant tusks, thousands of visitors will be able to purchase ivory hanko and other ivory products at the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics. We hope to pressure on Japan to do the right thing and close its ivory market for good Click here to see the English version.


On March 3, for World Wildlife Day, the action JTEF took was to submit a petition to ask retailers to cut their connection to domestic ivory for making Hanko. On March 28, JTEF recieved a reply from Ito-Yokado that they have discontinued the sales of Ivory hanko in their directly managed stores and have also requested that tenant stores also suspend their sales of ivory products by the end of the fiscal year. This result was covered by the Kyodo News organization here. (in Japanese language only) The 5 Japanese and International organizations endorsing this action are listed below with their websites. The petition can be downloaded below in English.

Japan Tiger and Elephant Fund  http://www.jtef.jp/
Tears of the African Elephant  http://www.taelephants.org/
Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA)   http://eia-global.org/
Humane Society International (HSI)  http://www.hsi.org/
WildAid http://wildaid.org/

The petition was sent to the following companies:
Ito-Yokado (Tokyo) A major general super market. It manages 168 stores mainly in the eastern part of Japan.
Uni (Aichi) A major shopping center and super market chain. It holds more than 200 stores in the eastern and central areas of Japan.
Gre-eight (Tokyo) Major franchise chain of hanko shop under the brand of "Hanko-ya-san 21". It has stores that number more than 300 all over Japan.
Yahoo! Japan (Tokyo) Dealing with a very active online market for Ivory, this company has refused to change their policy despite public pressure in the past.
Japan Insho (hanko) Business Association A public interest incorporated association aiming to contribute to the development of the hanko registration system in Japan. It is comprised of nationwide hanko retailers.


↓Download files↓

English version MakeYourMarkPetition_Eng.pdfEnglish. 324 KB

Please take action and sign our petition as an individual or as a group.
We will continue to collect name stamps for the rest of the year at various events and ask for your support! http://petition.100tokyo.com/

Iriomote Cat Update: May 15, 2018 Japanese Press Release

A survey report of the IUCN regarding the recommendations of the World Heritage List was released on the 15th. For Japan's application to be added to the list "Amami Oshima, Tokunoshima, Northern Okinawa Island and Iriomote Island"

JTEF and Yamaneko Patrol chapter of JTEF on Iriomote submitted 2 opinion papers to IUCN with recommendations (listed below) to expand nominated lands to the original application as well as adding regulations that control overall tourist access to various sensitive habitats in order to protect the habitats from over-use concerns. The IUCN's final recommendations addressed exactly these two points as a result of their investigations. Regarding tourism management especially, even now the overuse and lack of control measures needs to be addressed as soon as possible.

IUCN's comments are on PDF doc starting on page 37 (in English).

JTEF submits to IUCN "What is the holistic approach to address increasing tourism/visitors pressure in Iriomote Island?"

On 17 October, 2017, the IUCN experts arrived in Iriomote Island to conduct an on-the-spot review on the nomination of Iriomote Island for inscription in the World Heritage List. On 19 October, the Government of Japan hosted a meeting between IUCN experts and local stakeholders of Iriomote Island as a part of the on-site review by IUCN.
Firstly, in the context of inscription on the World Heritage List the most outstanding issue for Iriomote Island is the potential for adverse effects from tourism/visitors pressure on the ecosystem. Based on their observations, they suggested that the key measure for protection and management of Iriomote Island as a World Natural Heritage is to introduce a “holistic (comprehensive)” approach (management) to address increasing tourism/visitor pressure. They recommended the participants at the meeting to have a vision with regard to the limit of the number of visitors to be allowed to enter in the Island overall in other words, to envision what the carrying capacity is for tourists. The requirements for the said holistic or comprehensive management should include;
(a)   Thinking about the island as a whole unit;
(b)   Consistency and Integrity;
(c)   Sufficient effectiveness; and
(d)   Serving as a total volume control to tourism/visitors pressure.

This report is available in both Japanese and English. It can be downloaded in Enlgish Here. 2nd Report to IUCN (34 Pages, Size: 5,407 KB)

See the official press release here Press Release (1 page, 238 KB)

The Japanese version can be found here.本文PDFを見る (28 Pages, Size: 5,011KB)



JTEF Releases A Major Report on the Domestic Ivory Situation in Japan

Japan's refusal in closing its domestic ivory market will be challenged at the CITES Meeting to be held on 27th November. A comprehensive report criticizing Japan's ivory trade controls was released by the Japan Tiger and Elephant Fund on Nov.17, 2017. The report titled: “Why Should the Japanese Domestic Ivory Market Be Closed? -How ivory traders are capitalising on the failures in policy and governance, and corruption within institutions-” was completed after years of research and dedication in both Japanese and English. It can be downloaded below either in full or by section. (The Japanese version can be found here.)

JTEF_Ivory_Full_Eng.pdf 192 Pages . 7,731 KB

JTEF_Ivory_Summary_Eng.pdf  7 Pages . 240 KB

Title and Intro First Section including Table of Contents 698 KB
Chapter 1
233 KB
Chapter 2 2,437 KB
Chapter 3 898 KB
Chapter 4 1,826 KB

Chapter 5 1,040 KB
Chapter 6 297 KB
Chapter 7 382 KB
Chapter 8 408 KB

Conclusion References, Annex  657 KB

【Media: PRESS RELEASE】Released Nov 17, 2017  52 KB

JTEF Submits Comments to IUCN as Iriomote Applies to Become a World Heritage Site

The Japanese Government has nominated Iriomote Island as a World Heritage Site. (Officially nominating “Amami-Oshima Island, Tokunoshima Island, the northern part of Okinawa Island and Iriomote Island” for inscription on the World Heritage List.)
JTEF has issued a short report in response to the Japanese Government’s nomination proposal, compiling the most recent data and analyzing relevant information. The contents of the report are quite useful for IUCN’s evaluation of the natural heritage nomination & we hope they are taken into consideration during the evaluation process.  Click here to download the full report (35 pages) which was submitted to the IUCN review committee.



From August 26-Sept 3, 2017 at the JTEF office in Toranomon, the amazingly real paintings of Mr. Tanaka Toyomi will be displayed. Admission is free. He has been a long time supporter of the Japan Tiger and Elephant Fund's work and throughout this exhibition time, we will also put up for silent auction, 6 of his art pieces. We hope that people will take time to come see the paintings in person, but for those who cannot, the silent auction is avialable for veiwing online. Click here to see the online auction http://jtefcharityjikkou.org/.

NGO's Awaiting Response From WWF-Japan Petition

On Feb 15, 2017 three organizations submitted a petition to WWF-Japan to ask them to support closing Japan's domestic ivory market. WWF-Japan's official position currently states that Japan does not need to close it's market, due to there being a lack of connection to illegally poached ivory. WWF-Japan, being the largest environmental organization with possibly the largest influence on the Government of Japan has been in effect, dragging it's feet on criticizing the domestic ivory trade which is based mostly on the lucrative hanko (name stamp) business. WWF-J's position actually makes it more difficult for the other organizations like JTEF to move forward in their public awareness campaigns. This petition clearly outlines the immediate need for action and to move forward on concrete governmental legislation which will greatly reduce Japan's consumption of ivory. We hope that changing Japanese policies will ultimately reduce demand of ivory; stop the elephant poaching and illegal ivory trade.
Click here to learn more and to download the full petition letter (4 pages) which was submitted to WWF-Japan.



JTEF prepared for and distributed the report: "The Last Ivory Ban Haven" at CITES CoP17 held in Sep. 24 - Oct.4, 2016 in Johannesburg.
The link to the full report (12 pages) is here. Read the report



This report, 'What Lies Beneath', Exposing the loopholes within Japan’s control of internal ivory trade, brings out the flaws within the Japanese Law for Conservation of Endangered Species of wild fauna and flora(LCES), its associated databases and, how smuggling syndicates have exploited it to get away from being penalized. Through a case of illegally trading of Ivory by one renowned Ivory manufacturing dealer, the report captures the intrinsic danger that such a weak law will bring in at a time of rampant illegal trade of Ivory. Read the report

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Special Thanks for Translation to
Mr.Remi Chandran,Ms.Shiho Fujiwara,Ms.Naoko Hihara
Ms.Kayoko Honda,Ms.Yoko Ishihara,Ms.Tetsuko Kato
Ms.Naoko Kida,Ms.Erika Kubo,Mr.Julian Littler
Ms.Risa Matsumura,Ms.Kyoko Saji,Ms.Yoshimi Umemura,Ms.Chikako Yamazaki