Conservation group says Japan aiding in illegal ivory trade

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A conservation group says Japan's lax controls over its domestic stock of ivory are encouraging illegal exports to other countries and undermining efforts to end trafficking in elephant tusks.

A report released Wednesday that was compiled with support of the World Wildlife Fund says researchers found antique dealers are buying a large number of elephant tusks that are not registered as required by law.

It says hundreds of ivory items are sold each year by e-commerce sites, often to visitors from other Asian countries such as China.

The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, or CITES, bans international trade in ivory in principle to protect endangered African elephants. It has called for closing domestic ivory markets in all member states.