A Canada Wood Asian manager’s regional meeting took place in Japan from April 25th to 28th. At the meeting, 15 persons from 5 countries (Canada, China, Korea, Indian and Japan) gathered to familiarize themselves with their colleagues and sister markets to exchange information and best practices for developing opportunities and expanding international markets for Canadian wood products. Of the three full days that the manager’s spent together for meetings, presentation and brainstorming sessions, one day was set aside for the group get out of Tokyo to visit Polus Tech’s Post & Beam Pre-Cut Manufacturing Plant in Ibaraki Prefecture, Mitsui Home Component’s 2×4 & Truss Component Manufacture Plant in Saitama Prefecture, and last but not least a tour of a 2,200m² three-storey 2×4 fireproof elderly care facility under construction in Kanagawa Prefecture, designed by Issiki Architects & Partners, constructed by Nagai Construction Co., Ltd. and the structural materials supplied by Wing Co., Ltd. I would like to take this opportunity to thank these Japanese companies and their staff who generously took time out of their busy schedules and hosted our group.
On April 27th the Honourable Rachel Notley, Premier of Alberta, and the Honourable Deron Bilous, Alberta Minister of Economic Development and Trade, led a mission to Japan in support of expanding economic opportunities in Japan for Alberta’s forest products sector. Canada Wood Japan coordinated a site visit to Mitsui Home Component’s state of the art panel factory located in Saitama Prefecture. A large number of Mitsui Home officials greeted the Premier’s delegation and provided a factory tour. The Premier and Minister were impressed with the mill’s scale and efficiency as well as an extensive use of high quality Alberta SPF and OSB products. We thank Premier Notley and Minister Bilous for their continued support of our key stakeholders and programs in Japan. (Photo from Left: Minister Deron Bilous, Canada Wood’s Shawn Lawlor, Premier Rachel Notley, Mitsui Home Component co., Ltd. President Watanabe and Alberta Government Office in Japan Executive Director David Anderson).
The Japan Wood Research Society held its 67th annual meeting from March 17th to 19th in Fukuoka City, Kyushu. On the 18th, the Society presented an award to Frank Lam and Yuan Li from University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC. The award was presented for the article “Low cycle fatigue tests and damage accumulation models on the rolling shear strength of cross-laminated timber” that Dr. Lam and Dr. Li wrote for the Journal of Wood Science, one of the Journals published by the Society. The Society gives awards to superior research works on wood sciences and technologies. This year, 15 researchers earned the awards. Among them, UBC was the only overseas recipient. COFI participated in this AGM, where the outcome of FY2016 Canada Wood market access projects were orally presented. Okabe-san of Centre for Better Living made the presentation on Midply buckling properties. Shawn Lawlor and Hidehiko Fumoto were the part of the abstract co-authors. The Japan Wood Research Society was founded in 1955 and has about 2400 members including more than 100 from overseas.
The Japan 2×4 Lumber JAS Council held its 29th lumber grading championship on March 10th. This year, the venue was Osaka City Central Public Hall, a historical archive building designated as a National Important Cultural Property. A total of 31 graders from across the country competed with each other. All lumber samples were of Canadian dimension lumber. The “COFI Award” was given to the top three winners. The championship was followed by the annual meeting of the Council, the award ceremony and the reception, which hosted 129 guests. The first winner of the championship, Morita-san, will be invited to BC Interior Lumber Grading Championship in 2018, when COFI Kelowna office is celebrating its 50th anniversary.
On March 10th the JAS Lumber Council held its 29th grading competition at the Citizen’s Hall in Osaka. Canada Wood was on hand to present the COFI Award to three grade championship finalists. Shawn Lawlor presented the top COFI Award to Mr. Kazutomo Morita of Mitsui Home Components. An additional 2 other COFI Awards were presented to Mr. Takashi Matsuura and Mr. Kazuma Nakashima from Taihei Housing Corporation. The grading competitions are held by the JAS Lumber Council every two years in an effort to motivate plant quality control staff to hone their skills. The Council is planning to send a delegation of select JAS grading competition participants to Kelowna B.C. in May 2018 to attend COFI’s 50th Anniversary Grading Competition.