Canada Wood Today | The Canada Wood Group

COFI Japan Renews JAS ROCB Status

Hidehiko Fumoto

By Hidehiko Fumoto

Deputy Director and Manager Technical Services, Canada Wood Japan

March 25, 2020

Dated March 2nd, 2020, Canada Wood/COFI(Council of Forest Industries) Japan renewed our status as a Registered Overseas Certifying Body (ROCB) under the Japanese Agricultural Standard (JAS) accreditation system supervised by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF).  This gives COFI QC Division the ability to certify sawmills under the JAS system.  The current JAS system adopts ISO 17065 accreditation scheme, which requires voluminous paperwork.



Dating back to 1987, COFI has been recognized by the Japanese government as the first foreign testing organization (FTO) permitted to grade lumber outside of Japan to the JAS grade.  This provided a competitive advantage for Canadian industry.  Over time – in 1996, the NLGA system was granted mutual recognition by the Japanese government as a direct equivalent to the JAS grading system.  We could, therefore, ship NLGA marked lumber to Japan without stamping it with the JAS mark. However, it remained essential for us to retain access to the various standards committees that controlled and dictated the rules writing for wood products in Japan and as such JAS ROCB accreditation remains a vital credential allowing us to defend against market access challenges. To maintain this influence, we decided to retain our JAS certification accreditation.

Every four years, we need to reapply to keep our JAS certification active. Since this JAS certification in effect allows Canada Wood/COFI to conduct activities that are the responsibility of the Japanese government under licence they want to do their due diligence.