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Japan Wood Products Price and Market Reports 
01 – 15th Jun

Japan Wood Products Prices
Dollar Exchange Rates of 
10th  Jun 2023
Japan Yen

Reports From Japan

 Addressing the demographic crisis
Japan is currently experiencing one of the most severe demographic crises in the world. According to Japan’s Ministry of Health the number of newborrns decreased to 799,728 in 2022, the lowest number since records began to be kept in 1899.

This decline in Japan’s birth rate has significant negative consequences for the economy as a high proportion of GDP growth is dependent on domestic consumption.

The nation’s finances are being drained by the soaring expense of caring for the elderly who make up a large percent of the population. Japan now has the world’s second highest proportion of people aged 65 and over according to World Bank data.

In January this year the Prime Minister warned of the consequences of the country’s population decline, saying the country was “on the brink of not being able to maintain social functions” due to the falling birth rate. This prompted action to stem the falling birth rate details of which have just been announced by the government.

At a press conference in mid-June the Prime Minister outlined a package of measures including financial support aimed at helping young families raise children.


Economy expanded faster than expected
Cabinet Office data shows that Japan’s economy expanded at a faster pace than initially estimated as businesses increased investments. GDP grew at an annualised 2.7% in the first quarter of 2023 from the previous three months. The revised data also showed that Japan avoided a technical recession at the end of last year. In less positive news, the growth figures gained a boost mainly from increased inventories.

Analysts point out that it will be the trends in inflation and wages that will be key to whether the current recovery will be sustainable and if the BoJ will change its ultra-loose policy.


Near normal times return
Japanese consumer sentiment improved for the third consecutive month in May thanks to the continued recovery in economic activities after a slump amid the pandemic.

The Cabinet Office maintained its basic assessment, of the economy, saying that consumer sentiment is picking up attributing the improvement in consumer sentiment to the shift from the COVID-19 pandemic to “normal times” and the ongoing effects of the government’s measures to reduce electricity and gas bills.

Japan’s industrial output declined for the first time in four months in May, the result of the global economic slowdown. The weakness in domestic production is a drag on the Japanese economy which has recently shown some signs of recovery, especially in the first quarter.


Yen at 140 to the US dollar
The much anticipated policy shift by the Bank of Japan (BoJ) has had currency markets on alert especially since the announcement of a new BoJ Governor earlier this year. Yen strength at the end of last month was largely because market participants still thought a change was coming.

However, a statement by BoJ Deputy Governo, Masazumi Wakatabe, along the lines of “don't expect a change from BoJ any time soon” rules out any change in the BoJ monetary policy. In mid-June the yen was at 139 plus to the US dollar.

Import update

Assembled wooden flooring imports
The value of Japan’s imports of assembled wooden flooring (HS441871-79) in April was little changed from April 2022 but compared to the value of March imports there was a drop of over 30% in April. As in previous months the main shippers of assembled flooring in April were China, Vietnam, Malaysia and Indonesia.

HS441875 comprised the bulk of Japan’s April imports at around 85% of all categories of assembled flooring of which almost 60% was from China.

Plywood imports
The downward trend in the volume of Japan’s plywood imports extended into April. April shipments from the four suppliers were down year on year and little changed from the volumes shipped in March.

There has been a significant decline in the volume of plywood shipments to Japan from both of the main suppliers, Indonesia and Malaysia. For both Indonesia and Malaysia the volumes of April 2023 shipments were around half that in April 2022.

Trade news from the Japan Lumber Reports (JLR)
The Japan Lumber Reports (JLR), a subscription trade journal published every two weeks in English, is generously allowing the ITTO Tropical Timber Market Report to reproduce news on the Japanese market precisely as it appears in the JLR.

For the JLR report please see:

New glue for MDF
Daiken Corporation in Osaka Prefecture announced that the company succeeded producing MDF by using new glue made of bark-based ingredient.

The company had been studying about the new glue and now the company is able to prepare selling the MDF. Also, the company confirmed that the MDF made of the new glue has the same quality as its other MDF products. Daiken’s MDF, which are already on sale, consists of 85% natural materials such as wood scraps and 15% glue or a water-repellent made of fossil fuel-derived.

Since the company succeeded to produce MDF by using bark-based glue, the new MDF consists 98% of natural materials. Moreover, it does not take a lot of cost. The company has been developing on producing eco-friendly MDF since 2019. The company started using barks of Acacia.

A goal of the company for producing and selling new MDF is by 2025. In the future, the company develops more deeply to produce and sell MDF made of 100% natural materials.

Revised the Clean Wood Act
Revised The Act on Promotion of Use and Distribution of Legally-Harvested Wood and Wood Products called ‘the Clean Wood Act’ for short became law on 26th April 2023 and it was promulgated on 8th May 2023. It will be enforced within two years.

The objective of the Clean Wood Act is to achieve sustainable and sound development of the wood products industry by encouraging the Wood-related Business Entities to take measures to ensure the use of Legally-harvested Wood and Wood Products and thereby to contribute to the conservation of the regional / global environment.

About 40% of Wood-related companies were confirmed inconformity with the revised law. Another 40% of Wood-related companies were confirmed by other legal conditions.

Nisshin restarted operations
Nisshin Co., Ltd. restarted operations at its plywood plants, which produces long plywood, for the first time in eleven months. There was a fire at the plywood plant on 19th June, 2022. The plywood plants have the ability to produce 8,400 cbms in a month but it will produce 6,000 cbms plywood for a while.

The price of domestic softwood plywood kept falling in May. Inquiries to precutting plants and wholesalers began to increase but the shipment was not good atter the big holiday ended in May. The price of 12mm 3 x 6 structural softwood plywood is 1,700 yen, delivered per sheet and this is 100 yen down from last month. 24mm 3 x 6 structural softwood plywood is 3,400 yen, delivered per sheet and this is 200 yen down from last month. In some areas, the price of structural softwood plywood for the precutting plants is lower than those prices.

Since demand of houses is low, the housing companies request the precutting plants to lower the price strongly and the precutting plants had to accept the housing companies’ requests. Plywood companies also lower the price if there were a large number of orders. However, if the precutting plants lower the price before the plywood companies do, there would be anticipation of falling prices from buyers. This is the reason for a slow movement of domestic softwood plywood and the price keeps falling.

The price of imported South Sea plywood recovers to increase from April, 2023. Volume of Malaysian and Indonesian plywood has been decreasing and there is no need to lower the price to sell anymore.

12mm 3 x 6 painted plywood for concrete form is 2,000 yen, delivered per sheet. Form plywood is 1,800 yen, delivered per sheet. Structural plywood is 1,700 yen, delivered per sheet. 2.5 mm plywood is 780 yen, delivered per sheet. 4mm plywood is 950 yen, delivered per sheet. 5.5 mm plywood is 1,150 yen, delivered per sheet.

Domestic logs and lumber
There is an atmosphere of a stop for the price falling on domestic lumber in the middle of May. The price of laminated whitewood post or laminated cedar post, which are rivals of KD cedar posts, reaches the bottom price and the inventory of imported lumber is controlled.

Demand and supply of domestic lumber has been linked to demand and supply of imported lumber since the wood shock in 2021’s spring. Therefore, demand and supply of domestic lumber would be tight as the inventory of imported lumber decreases.

Actually, there is a shortage of whitewood studs with low quality and also production of cedar studs is not able to keep up with the demand. The price of 3m 20 x 105/ 45 x 105 mm cedar KD studs is around 70,000 yen, delivered per cbm. However, the price of cedar squares at some markets was lower than 70,000 yen so some sellers are still worried about anticipation of lower prices. It is difficult for lumber companies to lower the price so the price leveled off in May.

The log prices kept falling May as the lumber prices fell. Especially, the price of cedar logs for lumber or plywood was weak from Northeastern Japan to Kyushu area. In Eastern Japan, the price of cedar logs has been decreasing since February, 2023. The price of cedar logs in Western Japan started decreasing in April, 2023 so the price of cedar logs in Eastern Japan and Western Japan is different.

The price of 4m cedar logs for lumber plants, laminated lumber plants and plywood plants is around 11,000 -12,000 yen in Eastern Japan. This is about 1,000 yen lower than the previous month. The price of 3m cedar logs is around 12,000 yen in Kanto region and it is around 14,000 – 17,000 yen in Kyushu area.


LM        Loyale Merchant, a grade of log parcel  Cu.m         Cubic Metre
QS         Qualite Superieure    Koku         0.278 Cu.m or 120BF
CI          Choix Industriel                                                       FFR            French Franc
CE         Choix Economique                                                        SQ              Sawmill Quality
CS         Choix Supplimentaire      SSQ            Select Sawmill Quality
FOB      Free-on-Board     FAS            Sawnwood Grade First and
KD        Kiln Dry                               Second 
AD        Air Dry        WBP           Water and Boil Proof
Boule    A Log Sawn Through and Through MR              Moisture Resistant
              the boards from one log are bundled                      pc         per piece      
              together                      ea                each      
BB/CC  Plywood grades. Letter(s) on the left indicate face veneer(s), those on the right backing veneer(s). Veneer grade decreases in order B, BB, C, CC, etc. MBF           1000 Board Feet          
              Plywood   MDF           Medium Density Fibreboard
BF         Board Foot F.CFA         CFA Franc        
Sq.Ft     Square Foot  PHND             Pin hole no defect grade
Hoppus ton     1.8 cubic metres              Price has moved up or down

Source:ITTO'  Tropical Timber Market Report