The Japanese once joked that 99 percent of their disposable chopsticks were imported from China, but now the two countries have switched roles, as Japan has become China’s largest wood exporter.
According to a report by huanqiu.com, Japan has become China’s largest wood supplier after China banned the cutting down of trees and forests and people’s environmental awareness was raised.
In 2016, Chinese enterprises imported 48 percent more wood from Japan than in 2015, most of which was used to manufacture furniture. In China, about 314 million cubic meters of wood was needed in 2007 for construction, interior decoration, and furniture building and the figure jumped to nearly 800 million cubic meters in 2016, according to huanqiu.com.
According to a forestry white paper released by the Japanese government, the total value of Japanese exports of wood reached 23.8 billion yen ($21 million) in 2016, four percent higher than the previous year and up 150 percent from 2011, Japan’s Kyodo News Agency reported.
In 2016, Japan’s sold $8 million worth of wood to China, the largest volume to a foreign country and almost 3.8 times compared to five years ago, Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries announced. Japan started to sell wood to China on a massive scale in 2013.
China has the world’s largest forest area. By the end of 2015, China’s forestry area reached 208 million hectares, with the percentage of forest coverage at 21.66 percent, according to a white paper released by the Information Office of the State Council in December 2016.
According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, China had the largest net increase of forest area in the world from 2010 to 2015, with 154.2 million hectares being added each year.
The New York Times reported that China’s added forest coverage of 168,000 square kilometers from 2000 to 2010 was even larger than the total area of the US state of Virginia, citing official data from the UN.
The report estimated that China had invested nearly $100 billion in the afforestation project from 2000 to 2010, saying the endeavor would not only benefit future generations but also make its due contribution to reduce climate change.
While the Amazon deforestation reached 532,000 square kilometers from 1990 to 2015, China’s forest area increased by 512,000 square kilometers in the same period, The World Bank said on World Forest Day in 2016.
China’s afforestation efforts are applauded by the country’s netizens, with many saying that the endeavor has brought positive environmental changes to their hometowns.