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

The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism released its survey report on remodeling and renewal of buildings. The number of the orders received for remodeling and renewal of buildings for the second half of fiscal 2013 (October 2013-March 2014) is estimated to be 3,795,776 cases (up 44.6% from the same period of the previous year), and the amount of the orders received be 5,195.4 billion yen (up 9.8%). Of the total number of the orders received, home-related works increased 46.5% to 2,923,934 cases, which amounted to 2,578.6 billion yen (up 38.7%). The number of house remodeling works jumped up substantially due to hurried purchases of products and services ahead of the raise of consumption tax in April 2014. Accordingly the amount of the orders received expanded largely as well. Of the amount of orders received for the home-related remodeling works, detached homes saw 9,690 million yen (up 38.7% from the same period of the previous year, 37.6% in share), apartment houses did 14,724 million yen (up 50.7%, 57.1% in share), and detached dwelling houses which are also used for stores did 478 million yen (up 45.7%, 1.9% in share). The amount expanded largely for common spaces of apartment buildings. On the contrary, although the number of orders received for remodeling works of non-residential buildings increased 38.4% to 871,842 cases, the amount decreased 8.9% to 2,616.8 billion yen. The margin of decline was substantially in medical facilities (down 27%), stores (down 22.2%), and school buildings (down 22.1%), resulting in the fall from the results of the previous year for the non-residential sector as a whole.

Chubu Plant Service Co., Ltd. (Nagoya City), a company in the Chubu Electric Power Company Group, recently announced that it will construct a wood biomass, electric power generation plant called “Taki Bio Power” located in Taki Town, Mie Prefecture. With wood material gathered from forest thinnings in the same area to be mainly used as the fuel, 65,000 tons of woodchips will be consumed annually. The scale of the generated power will be to supply 6,700 kW corresponding to the annual use of about 14,000 general households, and operations are targeted to begin in June 2016. Construction of the facilities is scheduled to begin in February 2015, and the construction site is scheduled to be in the Taki Crystal Town Industrial Zone located about 4 kilometers southwest of JR Taki Train Station. The area is for business and industries centering mainly on the liquid crystal industry, and the company applied to Taki Town government in order to construct the wood biomass electric power plant. The power plant will use about 65,000 tons annually of unused material in Mie Prefecture such as wood gathered from forest thinnings as woodchips. With this plan, the company will contribute to the promotion of the regional forestry such as a revitalization of the forest business and also contribute to reducing the impact on the environment. With 50,000,000 kWh of generated electricity annually, the plant will supply enough electric power corresponding to 2.5 times the total number of households in Taki Town with 5,300.

On November 7, Sekisui House Co., Ltd. (Osaka City) established Sekiwa Grand Mast Co., Ltd. (Tokyo), a company specializing in the administration and management of high quality, safe, and worry-free rental housing for the elderly. 400 million yen in capital was fully funded by Sekisui House. The government is putting effort into the preparation of “housing for the elderly that also provides services,” and over 160,000 units have been constructed up to now (current time of the end of October). The company promptly set up an administrative department and developed housing for the elderly called “Celeblio” that takes advantage of the strengths of industrialized housing, and as a result of putting effort into improving proposal capabilities and sales such as strengthening 3 and 4 storied products, the company gained the trust of its customers and gained about 5% of the market share nationwide and about 20% of the Tokyo market share. By establishing the new company based on these results, the company can respond in greater detail to the needs of rental housing for the elderly expanding steadily. As a business scale, the company will develop its original brand “Grand Mast” at a pace of 50 buildings annually and will aim to have 5,000 units under its management after 5 years.


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