Having welcomed its 90th anniversary last year and heading for its 100th year of establishment, Emachu Group was off to a new start and held its customary New Year’s social gathering on January 17 in Tokyo. Concerning new housing construction starts for this year, Mr. Ito, president of Emachu Holdings, explained, “The industry is expecting 860,000 units, but I think we have to be prepared for a drop to 800,000 units,” and he said, “The environment for importing foreign lumber will probably become severe” because the price of lumber in the producing regions have remained high and because the fall of the yen in the exchange rate is forecast to continue. On the other hand, he described, “There are also government support measures, and an increase in lumber demand can be expected in the non-housing field including the interior. We will put our effort into providing material in this field.” Next, Mr. Ema, president of Emachu Mokuzai Co., Ltd., said that he would like to expand the 12.0 billion yen in sales forecasted for this year to 50.0 billion yen with the 100th anniversary as a target date. The company will also work to pursue a coordinator-type role for projects involving non-housing wood constructed buildings and to sell aggressively “S-Tech Wood”, which has a production system of 400 m³ per month, for use in the exterior of homes and public buildings.
In conjunction with the visit to Japan by Jean-François Lisée, Quebec Minister of International Relations, La Francophonie and Foreign Trade, the Quebec Government Office in Tokyo held a reception commemorating the 40th anniversary of its establishment on January 20 at the New Otani Hotel in Tokyo. People from a variety of fields with a deep relationship with Quebec were invited, and along with looking back at memories from past to present, a vow was made to strengthen relations further in the future. At the event, chairs were on display from the art exhibit, “KAEDE Maple x 30 Chairs”, which the Quebec government supported by providing material mainly maple wood. Visiting Japan with the minister, Sylvain Labbé, chief executive officer of Quebec Wood Export Bureau, continued to introduce various lumber products from Quebec to the Japanese market representing over 200 companies that manufacture lumber products from Quebec. For this visit, they promoted high performance, pure wood flooring material from Quebec especially for new facilities that will be constructed for the Tokyo Summer Olympics, which will be held 7 years from now, and they actively provided information to those involved.
On January 16 and 17, Zaiso Timber Co., Ltd. held its New Year’s event, the “19th Hot Sale”. With the continuation of the rising trend in domestic lumber prices since last autumn and with the revitalization of the market for foreign lumber products beginning with North American lumber with a bullish tone, positive activity as expected was seen at the sale. During the two days, 276 people attended the sale increasing about 15% from last year. Sales reached 250 million yen far exceeding the target amount of 200 million yen and the results of last year’s sale. At the sale, 1,900 m³ of clear products such as Douglas fir and hemlock, 1,900 m³ of regular lumber such as white wood and Douglas fir, domestic structural lumber such as cedar and cypress, and material for furniture and fixtures were collected and purchased. Prior to the sale, a number of reservations were made for North American clear products, which are popular and in short supply, and Douglas fir regular products, Douglas fir VG cut products, and hemlock flitch and balsam products were some of the products that were sold out. In the background with yellow cedar VG cut and regular products in short supply, they were nearly sold out. Due to high costs coming from a rise in prices in the producing regions and a falling yen in the exchange rate, the atmosphere was thick with the feeling of a further rise in costs in the future, so there was positive activity even among average lumber such as white wood products, Douglas fir KD products, and Douglas fir green products, and sales were good.