Japanese wood products soar in popularity, achieving major gains in log and lumber exports

Japan’s wood products export this year have increased, securing a 51.2 per cent hike YoY to 479,141 cbm of logs in the first half of this year.  Lumber enjoyed a 58.6 per cent increase to 62,557 cbm. China was a major buyer of Japanese logs while the Philippines was the main export market for lumber.

The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries set a one trillion yen target for the export of farm, marine and forest products by 2020. Forest products exceeded the target of 25 billion yen, bringing in 27.4 billion yen in 2016.

There are plans to increase export of value-added products like plywood and lumber from logs but developing new markets must first be achieved. The Ministry has allocated funds for this purpose, specifically reaching out to China, Korea, Taiwan and Vietnam. It has also been promoting Japanese wood species for China’s wooden buildings.

The Japan Wood Products Export Promotion Council is promoting activities of construction of model houses, displaying wooden interior materials of condominiums and participating in exhibitions and holding seminars. However, as price is always a concern for Chinese buyers, the question remains if high-priced Japanese products will be selected.

In Korea, Japanese cypress is very popular for its sanitation properties cypress furniture and interior fit-outs are often in high demand.

Taiwan is also expressing interest in Japanese plywood, LVL and CLT; Vietnam is still an unknown but there are many furniture manufacturers exporting finished products to Europe so demand for materials for furniture may be a major business. In the US, Japanese cedar is used in fencing when Western red cedar is short in supply.