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Japan: Gov't ordered to pay damages over failed forestry investment program

Japan: Gov't ordered to pay damages over failed forestry investment program | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it

A western Japan court on Thursday ordered the government to pay 85 people a combined 91 million yen in damages for failing to sufficiently warn them of the risks of investing in a state-run forestry program that ended in failure. The Osaka District Court ruled the farm ministry's Forestry Agency had neglected to warn investors of the risk of losing money in the "green owner" program, which involved investing in the growing of state-owned forests in exchange for a share of timber sales.


Roughly 86,000 people invested a total of around 50 billion yen in the program from its start in 1984 until the government stopped accepting new investment 15 years later. It was in 1993 that pamphlets promoting the program began carrying a disclaimer stating there was no warranty of capital. Over 90 percent of the investments ended in losses.


Presiding Judge Masaru Sakamoto said of the program prior to the revision of the pamphlets in 1993 that "the government had a responsibility to dispel any misunderstandings that returns would not fall below par of investments."
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A group of 240 people, mostly over the age of 60, had sued the government for around 500 million yen. They claimed phrases in the pamphlets such as "a long-term contract on a safe, sure asset" made it appear that profits were guaranteed, despite timber prices being on a downtrend.

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Jake & Ethan dragon slayers's curator insight, October 16, 2014 4:49 PM

This article is very helpful and knowledgeable of what is going on in japan. It also shows the troubles that are going on in Japan.

 

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Vanport International cuts for Japan through thick and thin, shipping lumber to the tsunami zone

Vanport International cuts for Japan through thick and thin, shipping lumber to the tsunami zone | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it

Fewer than a dozen Northwest companies have mastered the art of milling lumber to Japan's exacting metric specifications. But for those that have, the need to repair or replace more than 300,000 houses hit by the tsunami last year creates opportunity.


None stands out more than Oregon's Vanport International Inc.


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NW Timber Exports After Japan Quake Slower Than Expected

NW Timber Exports After Japan Quake Slower Than Expected | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it

When a massive earthquake destroyed San Francisco in 1906, timber mills in the Northwest went into high gear. They supplied the wood needed to rebuild. Last year, many in the timber industry predicted the Tohoku quake in Japan would cause a jump in northwest lumber exports.

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Japanese firms importing illegal Russian timber

Japanese firms importing illegal Russian timber | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it

Significant quantities of illegal timber products from the forests of Siberia and the Russian Far East are flowing into Japan, according to a new report by the US-based nonprofit Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA). While the United States and European Union have recently enacted new policies that prohibit the import of illegally sourced wood and wood products and require companies to conduct heightened due diligence in their sourcing practices, Japan’s failure to enact similar measures makes it an open market for illegal timber products from around the world.


The report, The Open Door: Japan’s Continuing Failure to Prevent Imports of Illegal Russian Timber,[i] details supply chains for illegally cut Siberian pine, bought by Chinese traders and imported to China, manufactured into wood products and sold on markets all over Japan. In undercover interviews, officials from San Xia, one of the largest Chinese importers of Russian timber, detailed how they purchase this timber from illegal loggers deep inside Siberia and launder this timber across the border using documentation from their forest concession. In factories across northeastern China, San Xia transforms this timber into edge-glued lumber, 90% of which is sold to Japan for housing construction.

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Forest industry applauds move toward free trade with Japan

Forest industry applauds move toward free trade with Japan | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it

Prime Minister Stephen Harper today said that Canada will undertake to deepen its trade and investment relations with Japan by entering negotiations for a comprehensive trade deal.

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Last year the Canadian forest sector exported $1.2 billion of wood, pulp and paper products to Japan, making it the 3rd largest international market for Canadian forest products. Many Canadian forest exports to the country are currently subject to significant tariffs which erode the industry's competitive position relative to other suppliers. Eliminating these barriers would give Canadian forest companies a decisive leg-up over its competitors in the Japanese market.

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