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Tropical Timber Trading from Southeast Asia to Japan

  • Hiromitsu SamejimaEmail author
Chapter
Part of the Advances in Asian Human-Environmental Research book series (AAHER)

Abstract

Southeast Asian countries have been important suppliers of tropical timber to Japan since the early twentieth century. This chapter begins with a comparative examination of the history of the timber trade in the Philippines, Malaysia (Sabah and Sarawak), Indonesia and Papua New Guinea, for whom Japan has historically been the major market for round logs and plywood. Three common characteristics stand out: the significant role of the Japanese market in shaping the dynamics of forest resource exploitation and export; the use made of timber revenues by political actors to further their power; and the vast scale and subsequent depletion of natural forests, although logging operations themselves targeted only large commercial trees. The analysis then turns to the current features of the timber trade from Malaysia and Indonesia to Japan, with the most important sector being plywood. Japanese trading companies have established cross-cutting and flexible relationships with Malaysian and Indonesian plywood-producing companies. The timber trade has been closely shaped by both domestic and international policies and regulations. The growing perception of the negative impact of degradation and deforestation has spurred the emergence of critical anti-logging movements and the use of voluntary and mandatory instruments—notably forest certification and legality verification—with mixed results. The establishment of sustainable management of natural forests and the regulation of forest conversion to industrial tree plantations are urgent priorities.

Keywords

Southeast Asia Japan Timber trade Plywood 

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Global Environmental StrategiesHayamaJapan

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