Japan Forestry Agency held meeting to discuss wood shortage

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The Japanese Forestry Agency held emergency meeting to exchange information to deal with shortage of wood products. Recent incident of sharp drop of imported wood products from North America and Europe with inflating prices and resultant demand increase to domestic wood is the main subject.

Associations of precutting business and contractors participated the meeting and loudly complain about shortage of necessary wood products and they may be forced to reduce production or decline taking orders if this situation continues. Precutting plants in Tokyo and Osaka regions, which rely on supply of imported materials, are struggling to secure necessary materials and are forced to reduce the operations.

Some Japanese plants use own supply of domestic wood but supply of domestic wood is also getting tight so there are some comments that growing log export business should be restricted temporarily until the supply eases.

The Japan Lumber Importers Association reports that booming housing starts in the U.S.A., which is main reason of supply tightness of North American lumber may last all through this year and it is not certain that supply tightness is temporary or long lasting.

Domestic wood cannot replace structural materials in terms of strength but tight supply from North America would last longer.

The National Federation of Forest Owners Cooperative Association attended to represent domestic log producers and log suppliers are not sure if this demand increase is real since plywood mills reduced log purchase last fall because of production curtailment program. They are worried about price drop by oversupply of logs so log production is being held down partially by this reason. If domestic logs are used to substitute imported logs, manufacturing of logs should be changed such as length and diameter sorting.

The Japan Federation of Plywood Manufacturers Association and the Japan Laminated Lumber Manufacturers Association participated the meeting and reported that the production has been increasing since last March but the production is not enough to satisfy the demand and the prices would continue to climb.

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