These logs in a back lot of a Daishin Plywood Industry factory in the city of Niigata are what's left of the company's final shipment. They will be gone by the end of next month. Photo Credit: Kei Sekiguchi

Environment Japan1. February 2021

Japan Now Imports (Much) Less Tropical Wood

Japan’s biggest importer of tropical wood will soon close its doors since the protection of rainforests has gained traction, and the demand for wood coming from local trees is on the rise.

Once the largest consumer of tropical logs in the world, the country imported only 134,000 cubic meters of them last year and used 17.62 million cubic meters of domestic logs such as cedar.

Japan has reached “a milestone for accelerating the shift to a circular economy from a development-oriented economy,” says Atsuhiro Inoue, head of the Japan Plywood Manufacturers’ Association.

This change of direction from Japan started in 1992 when the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development adopted a declaration endorsing a basic concept of sustainable development, and the Earth Summit adopted a similar statement of principles for protecting forests. In 2018, a Malaysian state banned exports of tropical wood in the interest of protecting forests. As for Papua New Guinea, the country raised the export tariffs in 2020 and intends to put a ban on 50% of logs in 2025.

Nikkei Asia

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