Japan Wood Products
Dollar Exchange Rates of 25th
Japan Yen 122.16
Reports From Japan
Technical recession as Q3 GDP growth drops
In the July-September quarter, Japan’s GDP fell almost
1% from the previous quarter marking the second
consecutive drop pushing the country into a technical
recession. The second quarter drop in GDP was not
anticipated and the further decline in the third quarter is a
set-back for the government and Bank of Japan.
This second fall in GDP growth underlines the weakness
of consumer spending and capital investment the result of
uncertainty over the direction of the global economy and
subdued household spending, both of which comprise
major elements in calculating GDP figures.
Government supported building plan a boost for
The government has outlined plans for measures to boost
the construction sector including support for building
nursing care and children’s nursery facilities.
On the basis of recent projections of the numbers of
elderly that will soon be requiring care facilities the plan is
to build, by 2018, enough new nursing homes to
accommodate half a million people.
The advantage of this plan, says government, is that it will
also boost GDP growth in two ways directly through
construction activity and also by allowing more mothers to
return to work.
November Paris attack – yen sought as short term
The yen/US dollar exchange rate moved in a narrow band
during November. The dollar weakened slightly after the
Paris terrorist attacks lifting the yen to just over 122 at one
point. As is usually the case in times of crisis money
flowed into yen away from dollars.
Large Japanese contingent at Lagos Trade Fair
The Lagos International Trade Fair is an annual event and
this year Japanese companies were well represented. In
addition to those from Japan the November 6 to 15 fair
attracted exhibitors from China, Ghana, Egypt, India, EU
member states, Indonesia and Ethiopia.
A wide range of products were promoted such as food,
general merchandise, electrical home appliances,
automobiles, furniture and building materials.
Japan’s external trade organization (JETRO) had the
largest pavilion which hosted 26 Japanese companies who
attracted 37,300 visitors, up 30% from the previous year.
JETRO noted that it was the quality of Japanese products
that drew the greatest interest.
For more see:
Japan’s wooden furniture imports
Japan’s imports of office, Kitchen and bedroom furniture
continued the rebound recorded since August. Even office
furniture imports, which had been falling for most of this
year, have picked up for two months in a row.
The rising trend in kitchen furniture imports over the past
two months is encouraging and even bedroom furniture
imports rose slightly in October.
Office furniture imports (HS 940330)
Year-on-year October 2015 office furniture imports rose
around 5% and compared to the previous month October
imports were up a healthy 17%.
The top three suppliers remain China, Portugal and Italy
and these three accounted for almost 75% of all office
furniture imports in October. In terms of suppliers from
the EU both Lithuania and Poland saw a rise in office
furniture imports by Japan.
Month-on-month, China’s office furniture exports to Japan
fell 10% while the other two major suppliers, Portugal and
Italy saw a rise in demand (+50% and +36% respectively).
Despite the overall rise in October office furniture imports,
the big looser was China. The bulk of the expansion in
October imports was because EU suppliers delivered
Kitchen furniture imports (HS 940340)
October saw a fall in the number of major shippers of
kitchen furniture to Japan. Year-on-year October imports
of kitchen furniture rose 8% and this was mirrored by a
similar month-on-month rise.
Vietnam, Philippines and China are secure once more as
the top three suppliers and Vietnam leads the pack by a
huge margin alone accounting for almost 43% of all
Japan’s kitchen furniture imports in October.
The top three suppliers accounted for 81% of all kitchen
furniture imports in October and if shipments from
Indonesia are included the over 90% of imports are
In October Vietnam saw shipments rise 35% but the
shipments from the Philippines was a more modest 5%.
October shipments from China remained much the same
as in September.
Bedroom furniture imports (HS 940350)
Suppliers in China have dominated Japan’s imports of
bedroom furniture for the entire year and in October
accounted for over 50% of all wooden bedroom furniture
Year-on-year October 2015 bedroom furniture imports
were down almost 3.5% but compared to September levels
a slight increase was recorded.
In October the top two suppliers remained China and
Vietnam but shipments from Thailand squeezed out
Malaysia and Thailand joined China and Vietnam in
supplying over 90% of Japan’s October bedroom furniture
imports. October saw a decline in the number of shippers
of bedroom furniture.
Trade news from the Japan Lumber Reports (JLR)
For the JLR report please see:
South Sea (tropical) log market
There is some change in supply side picture. The largest
log buyer in Sarawak, India is shifting to Solomon Islands
and PNG for log purchase. Quality of logs India buys are
low grade with large hole on the butt so India does not
have to stay in Sarawak, where log prices had been
climbing steadily. India suffers depreciation of the
currency so that they need to seek lower cost sources.
If the prices are lower and the volume is available, it does
not have to be Sarawak logs. By this move, Sarawak log
suppliers are becoming rather bearish and the offer prices
for Japan are bit lowering.
Sarawak log suppliers need to secure the profit before
rainy season arrives but they lost support to push the
prices up by absence of Indian buyers.
However, log quality for Japan is different from that for
India so availability of quality logs is limited. Therefore,
degree of price reduction is slight. Since the yen is
weakening, arrived yen cost remain almost unchanged
even with US$5-10 FOB price discount.
Present Sarawak meranti regular FOB prices are US$280-
285 per cbm, US$5 less than October. Meranti small
prices are US$260 and super small are US$245. They are
both about US$5 down from October.
Rubber wood LVL from Indonesia
Samko Timber Limited (Jakarta, Indonesia) has developed
‘Heveatec’, which is LVL made of planted rubber wood.
Samko plans to market the product in Japan.
Rubber log is peeled by lathe to make 1.7 mm thick veneer
then low molecular phenol resin is impregnated and
veneers are pressed with glue under high temperature to
make LVL. Orthogonal sheet is inserted in third layer to
make better dimensional stability.
Since resin is impregnated to conducted vessel, it gives
high durability and strong resistance to beetle damage.
Basic sizes are thickness of 20,25,30 mm, width of 145
mm and length of 2,100, 3,200 and 4,200 mm.
The product is mainly used for exterior structures.
Traditionally natural wood like Western red cedar, ipe,
ulin and selanagan batu have been used for exterior
Planted rubber trees are cut down after 25 to 30 years
when trees no longer yield latex.
Cut down trees are normally used as fuel but using aged
rubber trees for LVL is effective utilization.
There are two manufacturing plants in Indonesia of SGS at
Jakarta, which manufactures plywood and LVL with
100% planted species like falcate and rubber wood and of
PSUT at Jambi, which also manufactures plywood and
LVL with rubber wood and MLH.
Production of both plants is 10,000 cbms a month each.
Majority of the products are marketed in Indonesia. Total
monthly production of ‘Heveatec’ is about 1,500 cbms.
Markets are Australia, Taiwan, Malaysia and Japan.
Samko is recruiting dealers in Japan to make nationwide
Plywood conference by three countries
37th plywood conference by Taiwan, Korea and Japan was
held in Yilan, Taiwan in late October.
Main topics are cascade utilization of wood for
It is confirmed that keeping in mind of abnormal weather
resulted by progressing global warming trend, carbon
fixation by using wood should contribute prevention of
warming trend. It is also confirmed that information
exchange regarding environmental conservation with
stable utilization of energy in recent trend of using energy
of recyclable resources from fossil fuel.
Others are using legally approved wood for manufacturing
and watching panel demand in growing markets like
China, India and Middle East.
Three story wooden school building
City of Uozu, Toyama prefecture decided to build three
stories school building. Revision of the Building Standards
Act in June this year makes it easier to build wooden
It becomes possible to build three stories wooden school
building of semi-quasi one hour fire proof structure with
certain measures of fire spread prevention. School
buildings have been concrete for many years due to fire
hazard but with improvement of wooden materials for fire
hazard and development of new devices, wooden school
buildings are now safe from fire hazard.
The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Service and
Technology is actually promoting to build wooden schools
and this will be a model case of wooden school for other
The Toyama prefecture will select designer and architect
by public advertisement and there are already seven
proposals. After examination of applications, candidates
are selected. Then there will be three meetings by working
group by local residents and specialist to firm up concept
of the school.
Estimated size of the school is about 4,400 square meters
of floor space of three stories building.
Local wood is used to appeal charm of wood with
consideration of environmental protection.
Design will be decided in 2016 and construction will start
in 2017 to complete in April 2019.
Six story 2x4 experimental building
The Japan 2x4 Home Builders Association decided to
build a full scale three stories 2x4 experimental unit.
This is leading project to promote 2x4 construction, which
contributes utilization of wood, which is renewable
resource. The experimental unit is built at the National
Building Research Institute. It is subsidized by the
Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism.
Past record of 2x4 building is four stories high and
conditions to build six stories building are much higher
structural strength for first and second floor with higher
fire proof performance, higher wind pressure resistance,
water tightness, earthquake resistance.
The project is to develop leading technique of earthquake
and fire resistance and verify workability, durability and
habitability then promote higher wooden buildings by
public exhibition of the building.
JFTA gets ISO IEC17065 certificate
The Japan Forest Technology Association (JFTA)
acquired certification on ISO IEC17065 from the Japan
Accreditation Board (JAB) on October 27.
With this certification, JFTA is qualified to become
international approval organization such as PEFC and FSC
so that it will work on mutual recognition with SGEC
(Sustainable Green Ecosystem Council), the original
system of Japan. The certification can be obtained by
examination of the organization belonged to IAF
(International Accreditation Forum Inc.).
Certification service has started since July 2014 by JAB, a
member of IAF. JFTA commented that by the
certification, once on-going mutual certification between
SGEC and PEFC is acknowledged, certified object by
SGEC is considered as certified object by PEFC