III. Supply/Demand of Wood Products and Wood Products Industry
1. Supply/Demand and Price Trend of Wood Products in Japan
In 2003, Japan’s demand for industrial roundwood went down to 87.18 million cubic meters, with the gradual decline from 110 million cubic meters level during 1989-1997.
Japan’s self-sufficiency rate of wood supply (industrial wood) was 18.5 percent in 2003. This value is 0.3 percent increase from the previous year, with the 1.4 percent decrease of import and the 0.5 percent increase of domestic production. The domestic wood production increased for the first time in 15 years.
Japan’s wood products industry is making efforts to promote the export of Japanese sugi and hinoki to China and Korea. Such efforts include a survey of local wood markets and promotional activities of Japanese wood and wood products.
2. Current Situation and Challenges of Wood Products Industry in Japan
For the promotion of domestic wood consumption, the structure of wood produce industry should be converted for the efficient production of products which can meet market demands, including dried wood products, and the stable supply of products with clearly-stated quality and performance with low prices.
3. Promotion of Wood and Wood Products Use
Recently, we see more products in the market, such as name cards and drink containers, which carry a label stating that they are made of wood materials originating from thinning. Public awareness of the importance of wood use should be developed through the daily use of inexpensive products, for the possible purchase of wooden houses or wooden furniture with higher prices.
Wood is a “human-friendly” material with the characteristics of impact absorption, heat insulation, humidity control and tick-infestation prevention. House owners often recognize wooden houses as “healthy.” Such recognition should be developed for the promotion of the advantages of wood and wood products, while ensuring steady supply of wood and wood products with clearly-stated quality and performance.
The advantages of traditional wooden houses and “wood culture” nurtured in the long history of Japanese culture should be effectively incorporated into today’s modern lifestyle.
The number of boilers fueled with wood biomass, including scrap wood pieces from sawmills, reached 324 units in 2003, or doubled from the figure in 1999. In addition, power generation by the gasification of wood biomass or the mixed combustion of wood chips and coal in thermal power plants have been tested and studied for the practical use in the near future.
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