Yahoo Japan defends online ivory sales amid criticism

TOKYO: The online commerce site of Yahoo Japan is defending its sales of ivory from growing criticism.

A spokeswoman for the company said Wednesday that it does not allow sales of ivory that breach a 1989 treaty largely banning the trade.

Nearly 1.1 million people have endorsed an online petition by environmental groups aimed at pushing the company to stop its sales of ivory products.

Raw ivory is sought after for making ornate traditional seals and other decorative items.

A Washington DC-based nonprofit group, Environmental Investigation Agency, said late last year that it had found loopholes and weaknesses in Japan's ivory controls.

The group also said that the Yahoo Japan Auctions site sold more than 12 tons of ivory products, including whole elephant tusks, in 2012-2014.