On March 23, Nice Corporation (Yokohama City) established Pavatex Japan Co., Ltd. as a subsidiary company after a merger with Pavatex SA, a Swiss manufacturer of wood fiber insulation products. After being established in 1932, Pavatex SA became a leading company in the field of manufacturing wood fiber insulation products using natural material, and currently, the company sells its products in 19 countries in Europe and has gained about a 30% share of the natural insulation material market in Western Europe. The wood fiber insulation boards manufactured by Pavatex are made using the outer layers, bark, and woodchips of softwood trees such as spruce and fir. The boards are continuously improved to meet the needs of safe, eco-friendly products that do not emit toxic substances, and in Europe, they were first used in single-family houses and are now also being used in apartments, offices, day care centers for children, and other buildings. Capital for Pavatex Japan amounted to 40 million yen. In the future, the company will develop airtight-insulation systems using wood fiber insulation products that meet the needs of the Japanese market and will meet supplies by using the sales network of Nice Corporation.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries recently released to the public the results of a survey concerning the concentration and accumulation of radioactive cesium in the soil, the fallen leaves, and the trunk and leaves of standing trees in the forests of Fukushima Prefecture. The survey has been conducted every year since fiscal 2012, and this year was the 4th year. According to this survey, the concentration of radioactive cesium on parts of standing trees such as the leaves, branches, and bark continued to be on a declining trend. In the inner part of lumber, specifically the sapwood and heartwood, the concentration of radioactive cesium was overall low, and a significant change was not found. The concentration of radioactive cesium in fallen leaves declined 51% to 83% from the previous survey. In the soil, the concentration of radioactive cesium in the surface level of 0 to 5 cm has been up to now the highest, and the concentration of the level deeper than 5 cm is less than 10% of the surface level, so the concentration declines as the level becomes deeper. Concerning the overall accumulation of radioactive cesium in the forests, the cedar forests of Kawauchi Village, which had the highest initial amounts of accumulation, showed a gradual decreasing trend. In other surveyed areas, no clear change was shown in the amount of accumulation. In all the surveyed areas, the rate of accumulation on standing trees on the above-ground level of the forests decreased, and the rate of accumulation on fallen leaves and soil increased.
On April 1, the Sustainable Green Ecosystem Council (SGEC), a general incorporated association, began a new forest certification system based on international standards. The council has been conducting forest certification since 2003, but in order to reform to a certification system based on international standards, the council joined the international forest certification organization, Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC), last year, and last March, an application was made for mutual recognition and was recently accepted. In the future, SGEC is aiming to build an international forest certification system with a certification facility based on the international standards of ISO/IEC 17065 and by carrying out the SGEC certification plans, which have required conditions as an international certification system. By starting this new system, SGEC certified material is ensured of a position as an international product and will be promoting the export of domestic wood, and it will also contribute to building a system that is a market leader of a supply chain. In the forests of Japan, 400,000 hectares are certified by the Forest Stewardship Council, and 1,230,000 hectares are certified by SGEC, and 1,700 companies and organizations have acquired one of the two certifications. However, with a short history of just over ten years since its establishment, the area of forests covered by the SGEC certification has stalled at about 5% of the total area of forests in Japan.