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ECONOMY > Agriculture

2016 lumber self-sufficiency rate reaches 30-year high at 34.8%

  • September 27, 2017
  • , Nikkei , p. 7
  • JMH Translation

The Forestry Agency has announced on September 26 that Japan’s 2016 lumber self-sufficiency rate was 34.8%, up 1.6 points from previous year, which is a 30-year high on par with 1986 levels. This is due to the rise in biomass power stations and use of domestic timber for housing materials.


There are currently 17 biomass power plants across Japan, all of which went into operation last year. Domestic production of their fuel, mainly wood chips, grew 59% year-on-year. In addition, the 8% increase in new housing starts contributed to the rise in self-sufficiency.


While the lumber self-sufficiency rate was 96% in 1955, it fell below 50% by 1970 due to import liberalization, and dropped as low as 18.8% in 2002. However, the ratio has been gradually recovering since then, due to the increasing popularity of Japanese cedar for housing plywood.


The use of domestically produced lumber is expected to grow, as the man-made forests planted during boom times are reaching the right age for logging.


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