Visitors warned against departing Japan with souvenirs made from ivory – Nationwide
Tokyo Customs and the conservation group WWF Japan launched a campaign Friday to warn foreign visitors about traveling with souvenirs made from ivory, notifying them that it is illegal to depart with such products. Mascots representing both customs and WWF Japan handed out stickers in the departure lobby of Haneda airport in front of panels adorned with the question: “Are those souvenirs okay?” in Japanese and Chinese.
A total of 2.4 tons of ivory products were illegally exported from Japan between 2011 and 2016, with much of it discovered as it was being carried into China, according to the group. “China is strengthening its crackdown on ivory imports,” a WWF official said. Undercover investigations by the conservation organization revealed more than 70 percent of 430 targeted antique shops in Japan told customers they can depart the country while carrying ivory products, according to WWF Japan.
Japan has maintained a domestic ivory market, saying trading within the country is unrelated to poaching. But it imposed stricter rules last year, requiring ivory dealers to register with the government in the face of criticism that it is a hotbed of illegal ivory exports. The international ivory trade is banned under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, or CITES, and Japan is a signatory to the agreement. Over 20,000 African elephants are estimated to be poached for their ivory annually. In 2016, CITES adopted a resolution calling on all signatories to shut down their domestic ivory markets in an attempt to curb the mass poaching.
2 Peach plane tires blow out after landing in Fukuoka – Fukuoka
Two tires of a plane operated by low-cost carrier Peach Aviation Ltd went flat after landing at a south-western Japanese airport Saturday morning, stranding the aircraft and causing the runway to be closed for over two hours. There were no injuries to the 159 passengers and six crew members aboard the Airbus A320 aircraft, but the transport ministry decided to treat the case as a “serious incident” after confirming damage to the aircraft’s nose landing gear in addition to the flat tires.
The plane became unable to move on its own after two tires of its nose landing gear went flat at Fukuoka airport at around 8:10 a.m., according to the ministry. A total of 81 domestic flights and one international flight leaving and arriving at the airport were cancelled due to the incident, while a total of 22 flights were forced to divert their destination to other airports including Busan in South Korea, Saga and Nagasaki prefectures in south-western Japan.
The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism confirmed damage to a steering device used to change direction of the nose landing gear wheels, it said. The ministry’s safety board has decided to dispatch three officials to the site to investigate the aircraft and interview related people on Sunday.
According to Peach Aviation, it found no abnormality to the tires when the aircraft was checked before leaving Kansai airport. “We sincerely offer apologies. We will cooperate fully with the investigation by the Japan Transport Safety Board, while the company will work as one to recover trust,” it said. The passengers of the aircraft were transported to a terminal building some 90 minutes after the incident occurred.
Imperial Palace grounds reopen to public for cherry blossom season – Tokyo
A normally restricted section of the Imperial Palace grounds in Tokyo opened to the public on Saturday, allowing people to stroll through the blooming cherry blossoms there for the first time since 2016. About 3,700 people lined up for their chance to walk the 750-meter Inui Street, which runs from the Sakashita gate to the Inui gate. The section is open to visitors through April 1 from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. During the cherry blossom and autumn foliage seasons, public access to the street is normally permitted just twice a year. But it had been closed from spring 2016 to fall 2017 to allow for work to be carried out on the trees. The palace drew an estimated 500,000 visitors over 10 days during the cherry blossom viewing season in spring 2016.