Technically they are not an import, but a loan from the generous Laotian government, who have agreed to send across six elephants to Japan. The animals will make the Tohoku Safari Park in Nihonmatsu, Fukushima Prefecture; Iwate Safari Park in Ichinoseki, Iwate Prefecture; and World Monkey Park in Nasu, Tochigi Prefecture, their new homes. The loan is for a short span of three years and the animals are expected to arrive in July.
There has been an animal kingdom imbalance in the Tohoku region, ever since the Great East Japan Earthquake. To compensate the loss, officials from the company that operates the safari park decided to request the Laotian government to loan them some elephants. The population of wild and domestic elephants in Laos is somewhere between 800 and 1,300 and a number of them are used for moving large items.
The Japanese government have consented to the proposal and pushed it forward with the Laotian Prime Minister Thongsing Thammavong when he visited Japan in March. Apparently six elephants owned by an individual, will be heading to Japan as “Japan-Laos goodwill elephants.”
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