TOKYO - Delegates from British Columbia’s 2014 Forestry Asia Trade Mission helped celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Canada Wood Office and the B.C. Council of Forest Industries (COFI) establishing a presence in Japan.
Coincidental with the anniversary, the Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transportation and Tourism announced its award for a 9,000 square metre, five-storey elderly care facility in Adachi Ward, Tokyo. Once completed, the building will be the largest wood building of its kind in Japan. It will feature a Midply shear wall system developed by FPInnovations and the University of British Columbia.
This is the latest accomplishment of the Council of Forest Industries and Canada Wood Japan. The office was established in January 1974 with a Canadian architect, Japanese architect, Japanese engineer and Canadian lumber grader, to work more closely with Japanese government codes and standards officials. The first demonstration project, “COFI House” built on the grounds of the Canadian embassy, led to the approval of a Japanese 2x4 platform frame construction building code and lumber grading standards.
By the end of 1980, housing starts for the 2x4 construction system grew to 13,000 units. Through the 1980s and 1990s, COFI successfully worked to have three-storey single-family houses and three-storey wooden apartments included in the building code.
In 2003, the COFI Tokyo Japan office joined with other organizations under the umbrella of Canada Wood Japan. The organization continued with its successes by having codes and standards adopted to recognize larger commercial and institutional buildings, such as schools and elderly care facilities.
In 2013, 2x4 wood frame construction reached 120,111 housing starts - a new single-year record - accounting for 12.5% of all housing starts in Japan.
The 40th anniversary reception was hosted by Canada’s ambassador to Japan, Mackenzie Clugston. Also in attendance were the Japanese architects, builders and customers who have made Canada the preferred source for high-quality, sustainably harvested forest products for use in the Japanese construction industry.
Steve Thomson, Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations -
“Working together, government and industry have managed to grow the Japanese markets for B.C.’s high-quality wood products. I congratulate Canada Wood and COFI on its 40th anniversary in Japan!”
James Gorman, president, Council of Forest Industries -
“The trade mission activities on October 16th highlighted the milestones achieved that were rooted in our Canadian industry’s longstanding commitment to the Japanese market.”
Rick Jeffery, president, Canada Wood Group -
“British Columbia is Japan’s number one supplier of softwood lumber products and a valued partner. I look forward to continuing growth for B.C. wood products in Japan over the next 40 years.”
- During Japan’s rapid industrialization in the 1970s, the government recognized that traditional post-and-beam building techniques would be insufficient to meet the country’s growing housing requirements.
- The subsequent introduction of 2x4 wood frame construction methods and new building codes allowed the Japanese to fulfil their residential building needs while still satisfying people’s general preference for houses constructed of wood.
- The Canadian lumber industry was able to provide expertise and high-quality timber that helped it expand into the Japanese market during that period, a role that continues today through the continuing work of the Canada Wood Office and the B.C. Council of Forest Industries.
Photos from the 2014 Forestry Asia Trade Mission are online at: http://ow.ly/CrS0Z
Follow the trade mission on Twitter @BCJobsPlan − https://twitter.com/BCJobsPlan − #TM2014
BC Jobs Plan: www.bcjobsplan.ca
Our Natural Advantage: Forest Sector Strategy for British Columbia: www.for.gov.bc.ca/mof/forestsectorstrategy/
Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations