Double celebration in Japan!
17 December 2014 News
To celebrate these two milestones, PEFC Asia Promotions and SGEC, with the support of the Forestry Agency of Japan, held a special commemoration forum at the end of October, attended by over 120 stakeholders and honored by the presence of Her Imperial Highness Princess Takamado.
Opening the forum, Prof. Shigeru Kitayama, Chairman of PEFC Asia Promotions, brought attendees’ attention to the 2012 London Olympic/Paralympic Games, where certified wood and paper were used for all constructions and printed materials. He emphasized that it is the responsibility of Japan, as a developed country with rich forest resources, to inherit such policy for the 2020 Tokyo Games and PEFC will exert all-out efforts to make it come true.
“Japan has a history of performing forest preservation and aiding small-sized forest owners back in the 17th century’s Edo Period and PEFC can learn a lot from Japan, such as its wood culture and the way of thinking about forests,” said Mr. William Street, Chairman of PEFC International, during his welcome address. “Samely, PEFC’s idea of valuing small forest owners can help Japanese forestry in its revitalization. I, thus, believe that PEFC can be an ideal partner for forest management in Japan,”
“The Tokyo Olympic/Paralympic Games will be a great opportunity for demonstrating Japan’s wood culture to the whole world. Taking advantage of it for solidifying new possibility of wooden construction will revitalize forestry in local regions,” continued Mr. Street.
Honorable guest, Her Imperial Highness Princess Takamado, showed her concern for the way that the Japanese plantation forests have been managed until today, and further expressed her expectation that the participation of SGEC in PEFC International will open the way for domestic forests and woods to be certified to the international standard and expand their market into the world. Princess Takamado kindly concluded her address with hearty words of respect to the ten years of promotional efforts by PEFC Asia Promotions, which have brought about SGEC’s participation in PEFC.
“It really fills my heart to see so many people get together to celebrate today’s forum so grandly with the honorable presence of Her Imperial Highness Princess Takamado,” said Haruyoshi Takeuchi, Director/Secretary of PEFC Asia Promotions, in his keynote address. “I was specially moved upon looking back to the initial days when there was absolutely no information on PEFC available in Japanese, even on the internet.”
“The promotion of PEFC has always had a handicap in Japan, as until today, PEFC certification was limited only to imported wood and paper materials, but soon it will be possible to work together with SGEC to expand the target of the promotion into domestically produced forest-based materials and products. We can say that our promotional activity has entered into a new stage,” concluded Mr. Takeuchi.
The day continued with a variety of speeches, including SGEC Chairman Prof. Satohiko Sasaki stressing the need of international recognition of Japan’s exported timber products through PEFC, and Prof. Sasaki Kazuto Shiga from the University of Tsukuba highlighting that SGEC’s participation in PEFC could be an effective measure to cope with many of the issues facing the Japanese timber sector.
A taste of PEFC-like internationalism was added to the forum by the presence of the representatives from MTCC, PEFC Russia and nine participants of JICA’s international cooperation program titled “Training Program for Regional Development by Systematic and Comprehensive Utilisation of Forest Resources Through Forest Certification System and Branding” from countries such as Ethiopia, Fiji, Gabon, Laos, Malawi.
The forum concluded with a ceremony to award certificates of appreciation to six companies who have given significant support to the promotion of PEFC in Japan: Toyo Aluminium Ekco Products Ltd, Mihagi Kogei Co., Ltd., APP Japan Ltd., Sezaki Ringyo Co., Ltd., ASKUL Corporation and Hasemoku Corporation.