Adonis Diaries

We want your forests of hinoki

Posted on: September 5, 2010

China is after the woodlands of Japan.  Japan’s forests grow a cypress type of tree called hinoki that is very appreciated in fabricating parquet for home floors. One of the Chinese consortium offered to buy 100 thousand cubic-meters of hinoki in the Kiso district or five times what Japan can export per year.   “If it is an excellent wood product then, we are ready for any price you demand” said consortium and resumed: “If it is a matter of workforce then, we will bring Chinese workers for this job.”

If the company pays $650 per month for a Chinese forest worker it is still five times less what a Japanese would ask.  Anyway, Japan has only 50,000 working in its forests of 25 million hectares or 70% of the land. Yet, Japan is auto-sufficient for just 20% of its needs in wood. In the decade 1950-60, hinoki were planted on average of 3,000 hinoki tree per hectare.  Every 15 years, Japan cut down trees; thus, the forests should have 1,900 hinoki per hectare but that is not the case:  after 1980, prices plummeted and we was no longer profitable to export wood and the trees are rotting.

China import trees (a 4-meter tree of hinoki represents one cubic-meter and cost about $200) and then export the finished products.  Inferior quality of wood is used for fences, pillars… Nothing goes to waste in China.   The consortium is waiting patiently for Japan to give the green light for tree export.

1 Response to "We want your forests of hinoki"

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September 2010

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