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Recent industry news from Japan Lumber Journal regular article, “News in Brief”

Selling Canadian houses around the world, Viceroy Houses Ltd. recently set up a website (viceroyjapan.com) in Japanese for Japan. The purpose of setting up the website is: 1) to let the general Japanese consumer know about design “Made in Canada” and outstanding housing and 2) to make an environment that is easy to sell imported homes for people at housing manufacturers, builders, and design offices. Viceroy Houses is a long-established Canadian housing manufacturer that takes pride in its 61 years of establishment, and it has exported about 15,000 home packages to Japan in the past 21 years. The Japan senior manager of the company said, “From the results of a survey concerning imported homes in the Japanese housing market, we found that the available routes for imported homes as a package were decreasing,” so with the use of the newly established website, the plan is to introduce homes that are distinctive and friendly to the environment with a North American-style that takes into account the unique customs of Japan as well as material for housing fixtures. In addition, the company is recruiting housing manufacturers and building companies that will handle its home packages when it sells them in Japan.

As of August 22, the Japan Housing and Wood Technology Center (HOWTEC) enacted “Metal Fitting Standards for the CLT Panel Construction Method (‘Cross’ Mark Display for Metal Fittings)”. By using the standards, the “Cross Mark Display for Metal Fittings” that conforms to technical standards of the CLT notification can be used in the future when calculations for allowable stress are carried out for buildings that use CLT and that are 13 meters or less in height and 9 meters or less in height of the eaves or under 3 stories tall. In the same way of evaluating other construction methods such as the “Z Mark Display for Metal Fittings” used for the post and beam construction method, the “Cross Mark Display for Metal Fittings” can be used as display indicating high quality and high performance. Also another benefit is that the understanding of the supervisory staff for the construction of public buildings can be easily obtained. The metal fitting standards of HOWTEC are the result of using the metal fitting notification of the former Ministry of Construction as a model and the high quality items displayed in the specifications of the former Housing Loan Corporation. In addition, using the metal fitting standards of HOWTEC is specified in Public Building Wooden Construction Standards Specification, which contains the unified standards of the government. Under these circumstances, the “Cross Mark Display for Metal Fittings” will be handled in the same way as standards in the past, and it is expected to be viewed as important.

Welcoming its 10th anniversary, IKEA Japan held a press conference to introduce its business strategy and catalogue for fiscal 2017 at LUMINE 0 (zero), which is directly across from JR Shinjuku Station, on August 23. Helen von Rice, who became the new president of IKEA Japan on August 1, pointed out the direction of the company for 2017 and said that IKEA Nagakute will open in the fall of 2017 becoming the first IKEA store in the Tokai region. In expressing her expectations, she also said that the store is scheduled to be a large-scale store that takes the environment into consideration and is very much looking forward to it. IKEA currently has developed 8 stores (Tokyo Bay, Kohoku, Shinmisato, Tachikawa, Kobe, Fukuoka Shingu, Tsuruhama, and Sendai) in Japan. It has a target of 14 stores and doubling sales by 2020, but at the end of the August 2015 term, sales ended with a slight increase. Recently, a recall has occurred for a number of products, and the branch store in Kumamoto, which is using a new business structure called “multichannel retailer”, did not progress as planned being affected by the earthquake. With a new feeling following the appointment of the new president, expectations are being made for business developments.


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