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

On March 7, JK Holdings Co., Ltd. (Koto Ward, Tokyo) and Hashimoto Sogyo Holdings Ltd. (Chuo Ward, Tokyo) announced that they have established a joint holding company through joint stock transfer and have reached a basic agreement to start examining business integration. For the near future, discussions will continue with an aim to register the establishment of the joint holding company and to have it listed on the stock market on October 2. JK Holdings is a company group that is made up of 51 subsidiaries centered around Japan Kenzai Co., Ltd. and 13 affiliated companies, and it conducts sales and services of products and activities related to the housing industry such as wholesale business of plywood, plywood secondary products, construction materials, housing equipment, and fixtures, plywood manufacturing, lumber processing, retail sales of construction materials, construction, distribution, and home loan brokerage. In the term ending in March 2016, JK Holdings had consolidated sales of about 330.0 billion yen and about 2,500 employees. Hashimoto Sogyo Holdings is a group company consisting of 4 subsidiary companies centered around Hashimoto Sogyo Ltd., and it conducts wholesale business of plumbing equipment such as pipes and coupling joints, sanitary fixtures such as toilets and sinks, hot water equipment, kitchen equipment, air conditioning, and pumps. In the term ending in March 2016, it had sales of about 112.0 billion yen and about 760 employees.

The Real Estate Economic Institute Co., Ltd. recently compiled and announced the nationwide condominium market trends for 2016. The number of condominiums put up for sale nationwide in 2016 decreased 1.4% compared to the previous year to 76,993 units decreasing for 3 consecutive years. Based on region, the number of condominiums put up for sale was 35,772 units (11.6% decrease compared to the previous year) in the Tokyo Metropolitan area, 18,676 units (1.3% decrease) in the Kinki region, and 4,872 units (2.6% decrease) in the Tokai-Chukyo region decreasing in all 3 major metropolitan areas. In the Tokyo Metropolitan area, which accounts for 46% of the total, there was a 2-digit decrease with the impact of prices remaining at high levels. In other regions, the number of condominiums put up for sale showed Kyushu with 8,479 units (19.9% increase), Chugoku with 3,211 units (64.2% increase), and Tohoku with 2,082 units (65.2% increase), and compared to the major metropolitan areas, the actual numbers were small, but the regions that increased were conspicuous. The number of condominiums put up for sale nationwide in 2017 is expected to be about 78,500 units and to increase about 2% compared to the results for 2016. Within this amount, the number is expected to increase in the 3 major metropolitan areas with a 6.2% increase to 38,000 units in the Tokyo Metropolitan area, a 1.7% increase to 19,000 units in the Kinki region, and a 2.6% increase to 5,000 units in the Tokai-Chukyo region. On the other hand, the regions that were in a good condition in 2016 are expected to decrease in 2017 with a 5.6% decrease to 8,000 units in Kyushu and a 22.1% decrease to 2,500 units in Chugoku.

On February 20, Takenaka Corporation (Osaka City) announced that it has developed “Mo-en Wood” using cedar wood. Concerning “Mo-en Wood”, which is a fire-resistant laminated lumber that can be used in large-scale wood construction in urban areas, it has received the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism’s certification for a 1 hour fire resistant structural component as prescribed by the Building Standards Law for products that use cedar as material as well as the previously used larch wood. Because of this, “Mo-en Wood” can contribute to the utilization of domestic cedar that is at a suitable age for forest thinning and logging. “Mo-en Wood” is a fire-resistant laminated lumber that is composed of 3 layers of a “load support part” made of wood, a “burn stop layer” made of mortar and wood, and a “substitute burn layer” made of wood. The outer most “substitute burn layer” becomes a carbide layer with a high performance of thermal insulation and suppresses the progress of internal combustion when a fire breaks out. For this current development using cedar wood, “Mo-en Wood” columns utilize gypsum with a newly developed high fluidity in the “burn stop layer” in place of the previously used mortar. The moisture in the gypsum material evaporates and absorbs the heat, and it has a fire resistant performance equal to or greater than mortar. Also with the method of injecting the gypsum material into the “burn stop layer”, maintaining accuracy becomes easy, and an improvement in production and a reduction of about 10 to 20% in manufacturing costs of components were also obtained.


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