International bodies that advocate for the preservation and protection of endangered animals have called on Softbank to pull out its advertisements posted on Yahoo! Japan. The Japanese communications company holds majority of the search engine’s shares in Japan. Softbank has also acquired Sprint. Advocate groups urge Softbank to take social responsibility but the reminder has only come to naught.
Among the illegal products advertised on Yahoo! Japan are ivories as well as whale and dolphin products. Obtaining ivory requires the life of an elephant. The rampant trade on this product has led to an international ban of obtaining ivory or products. However, Yahoo! Japan continues to post ads offering ivory. Some are even said to be made into hanko, or the name seal that Japanese people use for business and legal transactions. The Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) and Humane Society International (HSI) claim that these hanko are offered by 80 percent of the unethical ads on Yahoo! Japan.
The search engine is also alleged of offering products from endangered whales, like fin whales from Iceland and minke whales from the Antarctic. Even sei and sperm whales from the Northwest Pacific are advertised on Yahoo! Japan. These whales, as well as the elephants in Africa, which is the major source of ivory, are facing extinction. The EIA and HSI, among other advocates, have been calling on Softbank to stop the unethical ads. “SoftBank has a responsibility to millions of US Sprint customers,” said Clare Perry of the EIA. Perry also warned that Sprint customers will be “shocked to discover that SoftBank is profiting from the slaughter of elephants, whales and dolphins.”
According to HSI Vice-President Kitty Block, “Tens of thousands of elephants, whales and dolphins are being killed each year to supply demand for their parts. We urge SoftBank to end their role in this cruel and unnecessary slaughter.” Other Yahoo! websites have already pulled out unethical ads. The advocate groups urge Softbank, as the major stock holder of the search engine, to do the same.