Corruption Perception Index
A country's score indicates the perceived level of public sector corruption on a scale of 0 (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean).
Source: Transparency International
Bans & quota
Although harvesting is not prohibited in most of Japan’s forest, it is prohibited in 661 Protected Forests (Forest Biosphere Reserve Areas) nationwide, totalling 978,000 ha (as of April 2021). In addition, permission must be obtained from the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries or the prefectural governor for harvesting in forests designated as Protection Forests of 12.2 million ha in total.
CITES and protected species
Measures to implement CITES in Japan are border regulations for imports and exports under the responsibility of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry based on the Foreign Exchange and Foreign Trade Law. Among Japanese woody plants, CITES contains only Japanese yew (Taxus cuspidata), which is used as an anticancer drug.
According to the website of the Ministry of the Environment, as of January 4, 2021, there are 395 species of domestically rare wild animals and plants. They consist of birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, fish, insects, land snails, crustaceans, and vascular plants. Although some woody plants are included in the list of rare wild animal and plant species in Japan, almost all of them are shrubs with vegetation in the Ryukyu Islands and Ogasawara Islands.
National action on timber legality
The Forestry Agency enacted the Clean Wood Law on May 20, 2017 and is expanding measures against illegal deforestation and timber trade to the private sector. The following text is the explanation given on the Forestry Agency website. “The Act on Promotion of Use and Distribution of Legally-harvested Wood and Wood Products (the Clean Wood Act) went into force on 20 May 2017. The objective of the Clean Wood Act is to promote the use and distribution of wood and wood products made from trees harvested in compliance with the laws and regulations of Japan and the countries of origin.”
In April 2006, the Government of Japan introduced measures under the “Act on Promotion of Procurement of Eco-Friendly Goods and Services by the State and Other Entities” to require that government procurement goods be made from wood that has been certified as legal and sustainable. In addition, the Forestry Agency indicates three methods of verification of the legality and sustainability of wood and wood products in the “Guideline for Verification on Legality and Sustainability of Wood and Wood Products” prepared in 2006. Importers can comply with the Green Purchasing Act by providing sourcing verification documents from (i) third-party forest and CoC certifiers, or (ii) forest products associations. Alternatively, importers can (iii) establish and maintain their own traceability system for the supply chain. The verification process is repeated at each stage of the supply chain. Additional information about Japan’s Green Purchasing Act can be found on the Japanese Council for Tackling Illegal Logging and Promotion on the website of Goho Wood. The Clean Wood Act is meant to expand the scope of the law to private sector.
Third party certification
The area of certified forest management in Japan has been increasing nationwide since the 2000s. In December 2020, certified forest area in FSC certification scheme was about 410,000 ha and SGEC (Sustainable Green Ecosystem Council) certification scheme was about 2.16 million ha, accounting for about 10% of the total forest area in Japan. The CoC certification is also on a gradual increase, with 1627 FSC CoC certificates and 542 SGEC CoC certificates in December 2020. The SGEC certification scheme is endorsed by the PEFC Council.
In addition to these standards, there are also the Japanese Agricultural Standards (JAS), established by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. They are voluntary certification standards that, amongst other reasons, aim to improve the identification and value of forest products. The JAS standards certify the quality of logs and wood products and include labelling of the products and their source (Preferred by Nature, 2018).