TOKYO - Thanks to skyrocketing demand in China, export values of Japanese timber products are on track to reach highs not seen in 40 years.
Full-year figures will likely reach nearly 32 billion yen ($288 million) - up over 30 percent from 2016 according to the Japan Wood-Products Association. Exports for January-November jumped 37 percent from the previous year to $267 million. 2016 saw total exports to value $218 billion: a number that was surpassed in September of 2017.
Logs made up the greatest proportion of exported products at 42 percent, with sawn timber following at 17 percent. China is the country's biggest receiver - importing around 40 percent of Japan's total wood exports. Demand was highest for logs, in particular, sugi.
Prices are also up. China-bound sugi cedar is selling for around $130 per cubic meter, up $10 from the summer, says Nikkei Asian Review (NAR) in an in-depth report.
NAR says Chinese demand is higher due to an economically-growing China hit by a shrinking domestic housing market.
Japan is a forest rich nation with an around 25 million hectare (ha) estate. Annual harvesting is difficult however, as the landscape suffers from steep terrain and an underdeveloped forest road infrastructure, says Bioenergy International.
Have something to say? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.