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Latest Wood Market News from Japan


Report From Japan

Domestic Plantation Logs for Plywood

For years now Japan has used mainly tropical hardwood logs for plywood manufacturing but the perception is that tropical log resources are declining especially in Malaysia and Indonesia To compete with imported plywood and to reduce the dependence on tropical hardwood logs, Japanese mills have started using imported softwood logs such as Russian larch and New Zealand radiata pine. Now comes domestic species as a new raw material. This change has widened the choice of raw materials for the mills. At the moment monthly consumption of domestic logs for plywood is only about 11,000 cubic metres a month, or only 2% of total log consumption by plywood mills in Japan.

Cedar is the most common species and is available all over Japan. Cedar plantations established over fifty years ago are now ready for harvest. Until now Cedar has been mainly used for structural and some decorative enduses in house building but it has never been used for plywood because more suitable tropical hardwood logs had been readily available.

Despite its current use, domestic cedar is not the total solution for the plywood manufacturers because the supply in large volumes at low cost cannot be guaranteed as the plantations are scatter all over Japan and logging and transportation cost are very high in Japan. For example Akita Plywood, which is the largest cedar plywood mill, says the maximum distance for economic log supplies is about 100 kilometres.

The cost of cedar logs to the plywood mills is said to be around yen 15,000 per cubic metre and this is higher than prices for Russian larch and New Zealand radiata pine logs which are at about yen 10,000.

Tropical Log and Lumber Prices

Logs For Plywood Manufacturing
CIF Price Yen per Koku
Meranti (Hill, Sarawak)
Medium Mixed 6,20
Meranti (Hill, Sarawak)
STD Mixed 6,300
Meranti (Hill, Sarawak)
Small Lot
(SM60%, SSM40%) 5,500
Taun, Calophyllum (PNG)
and others 5,400
Mix Light Hardwood
(PNG G3-G5 grade) 4,700
Okoume (Gabon) 6,800
Keruing (Sarawak)
Medium MQ & up 6,900
Kapur (Sarawak) Medium
MQ & up 6,500

Logs For Sawmilling FOB Price Yen per
Melapi (Sarawak)
Select 8,800
Agathis (Sarawak)
Select 8,600

Lumber    FOB Price Yen per Cu.m
White Seraya (Sabah)
24x150mm, 4m 1st grade 113,000
Mixed Seraya 24x48mm,
1.8 - 4m, S2S 42,000

Wholesale Panel Prices


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