TOKYO - Robust demand from other Asian countries, like China, South Korea, and the Philippines, has been a boom for Japan's wood exports.
Japan's wood exports reached 32.6 billion yen in 2017 ($293 million), up 37 percent from 2016 and the highest in 40 years, according to Nikkei Asian Review (NAR).
"The Chinese market needs high-quality wood to accompany its economic growth," Jiang Jian, director of a wood trading company in China told NAR. Jian says Japanese wood has advantages over that of competitors in North America, Europe, and Oceania, due to geographic proximity and the unique appeal to some of the country's native woods.
Certain kinds of Japanese wood are attractive domestically and abroad. Japanese cedar is resistant to rot and Japanese cypress as an aroma appealing to foreign markets, says NAR.
Japan's wood exports in 2017 are the second highest on record - only after 1977 reached 36.6 billion yen. 2017's numbers were fueled mainly by Chinese demand, with exports up 61 percent over 2016. That figure has risen seven-fold in five years says NAR.
And despite extreme demand from China, Japan's wood exports to the country only account for 1 percent of China's imports.
Vietnam is also seeing a boom in lumber exports. After reaching $8 billion in lumber and forest product exports in 2017, Vietnam has set its goal even higher for 2018: $10 billion.
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