Japan Clean Wood Act

In May 2016, the Government of Japan introduced the Act on Promotion of Use and Distribution of Legally-Harvested Wood and Wood Products – also known as the Clean Wood Act (CWA).

Attached are unofficial translations of the Act and two Ministerial Ordinances for Standards and Enforcement (by USDA):
Japan: Japan Implements Clean Wood Act

This regulation follows a first Guideline developped in 2000 by the Japanese Forestry Agency (FA) for Verification of the Legality and Sustainability of Wood and Wood Products to help businesses avoid the purchase of illegal timber (Government of Japan, 2006). Companies voluntarily complying with the guidelines were encouraged to register as trading in legal timber through a system that became known as Goho-Wood (meaning "legal" in Japanese).

In a bid to align with the international efforts (like EUTR, US Lacey Act, etc.), members of the National Diet (Japan’s bicameral legislature) adopted the CWA in 2016. However, the Goho standard remains in force, running in parallel, and creating significant confusion.
The scope of the CWA is expected to be reviewed and, if appropriate, revised in 2022.  

Forest Products Covered

The CWA covers the main timbear products categories imported into Japan and therefore applies broadly to both processed and unprocessed wood products – from logs, sawnwood, fuelwood, and wood chips, to plywood and furniture.

How it works

the Act encourages all businesses dealing in wood products to trade in legal timber, it creates no penalties for non-registration or for knowingly trading in illegal timber. Instead, it aimed to promote legal practices by creating provisions for companies to register as a “Registered Wood-related Business Entity.” To apply for registration, companies must hold documents confirming the legal status of the wood  used throughout their supply chain.

Source: Forest Trends