Market Overview

BC and Canada have a long-standing presence in the Japanese market and are widely recognized as leading players in supplying wood products to Japan’s residential construction sector.

While Japan’s aging population has led to a decline in single-family housing starts, government policies encouraging wood use in hybrid, multi-family/multi-storey, and non-residential construction have opened doors for BC wood products within these segments.

Together, FII and its partners are working to sustain BC’s market share in Japan by protecting the strong Canadian brand and expanding wood use beyond traditional segments.

Photo: Canada Japan Wood Conference at Tokyo International Forum | Credit: Canada Wood Japan

Key Stats


wood housing starts on average each year


largest global market for BC’s value-added sector


largest market for BC lumber

Why Japan?

  • Large, high-value market for BC forest products
  • Strong Canadian brand for more than 40 years
  • Growing opportunities in the non-residential sector
  • Sophisticated market with demand for coastal species
  • Major market for wood pellets
Photo: Donguri-Anne Public Library, Japan | Credit: Canada Wood Japan

Market Priorities

  • Encourage wood use through engaging policymaking around codes and standards
  • Increase market share of single and multi-family residential construction
  • Develop the non-residential construction segment
  • Target niche markets for the value-added sector, particularly in resort, agriculture and reform sectors
  • Continue to build upon Canada’s growing market-share within the wood pellets sector
Photo: Canadian delegation to Japan, Seiwa Corporation 2×4 apartment site visit | Credit: Canada Wood Japan

Strategic Approach

Since 2003, the Canada Wood Group has been leading market development programming with support from FII and the federal government. Efforts are focused on overcoming barriers to wood use, increasing capacity in wood construction and design, and promoting the use of wood building systems in targeted sectors. Support for BC’s value-added sector is encouraged through in-market promotions and continued work on codes and standards to achieve acceptance of new building solutions.

Photo: Ferichetamamura International Elementary School, Gunma prefecture | Credit: Gunma Felice Academy.

Featured Projects

Midply in single-family homes

A notable advancement in Japan’s single-family market across 2020/21 was the rapid adoption of Midply walls for commercial use by Ichijo Komuten—one of Japan’s leading 2×4 single-family home builders. The company is currently installing 300 homes per month with Midply and has completed 2,955 homes featuring the technology over the past year—a notable increase over the 60 homes completed the previous year.

Total wood use in these Midply homes is estimated at over 60,000m3, with considerable potential for further growth in earthquake-prone Japan.

This positive outcome resulted from Canada Wood’s technical briefings on the system’s many benefits including enhanced seismic performance. It is just one example of the market adopting higher-value products and Canadian-developed wood building systems.

Photo: Shawn Lawlor and Mr. Masahiro Furuta at Ichijo job site | Credit: Canada Wood Japan

NLT approved for roof and floor applications in large-scale structures

Following a multi-year fire testing effort, COFI, together with the Japanese 2×4 Home Builders Association, recently received certificates from Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism for quasi fire-resistive structure approvals. This approval opens the Japanese market for NLT. The ministerial approvals confirm one-hour quasi fire-resistive performance for NLT floor assemblies and 30-minute quasi fire-resistive performance for NLT roof assemblies.

The ministerial approvals will be leveraged to help facilitate the spread of large-scale wooden buildings using NLT horizontal diaphragms that are visually exposed.

Photo: NLT fire test | Credit: Canada Wood Japan

Wood in agricultural buildings

With the slowing of housing starts, market development efforts in Japan have been focussed on new segments including midrise and non-residential construction in agriculture, warehouses and commercial sectors.

Together with the Japan Wood Truss Council, Canada Wood has been promoting the benefits of wood trusses over competing steel systems in agricultural buildings, as they are more cost-effective and provide a healthier environment for the animals.

In total, 2020/21 saw 14 new nonresidential construction projects incorporate Canadian wood as a result of Canada Wood promotion and technical support.

Photo: Maruyama Pig farm project | Credit: Canada Wood Japan

Building upon Canada’s growing market-share within the wood pellets sector

Japan is the fastest-growing major market in the world for wood pellets, driven by its ambitious goals to increase green energy production over the next decade and move away from nuclear. This makes Japan a very attractive market for BC wood pellet producers, as well as a marketing focus for the Wood Pellet Association of Canada (WPAC).

On February 17, 2021, nearly 300 delegates participated in the WPAC’s first-ever virtual Asia Wood Pellet Conference, Energizing Asia with Sustainable Low-Carbon Biomass. While the conference typically takes place in Japan, by moving the conference to an online format this year in response to the pandemic, the event drew guests from across Asia and North America.

Many topics and emerging issues were featured for discussion including the evolving Japanese biomass sustainability requirements and Canadian wood pellet sustainability.


BC is the world’s largest producer of wood pellets—a product that’s proving to be a gateway to the future of innovation in the bio-energy sector. Utilizing residual fibre from BC’s forests, wood pellets have emerged as a valuable low-carbon fuel source and export product.

Photo: Courtesy of Wood Pellet Association of Canada and its media partner Canadian Biomass Magazine