WORLD : Japan Bans Import of African Ivory

From Times wire services

Japan, the world’s largest consumer of ivory, will ban ivory imports from Africa next week, the International Trade and Industry Ministry said today.

Masahiko Isono, a ministry official, said the ban will last at least until the end of the year.

Japan has been under pressure to ban imports of ivory products to protect elephants, which are hunted for their ivory tusks. The United States, Britain, France and West Germany have banned ivory imports. Isono said Japan imported 106 tons of ivory last year, compared with 143 tons in 1987. In 1983, Japan imported 475 tons, Isono said.