COFI Succeeds in Lobbying MLIT on Regional Type House Branding Program
The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) recently established a new subsidy program called “Regional Type House Branding System”. This program aims to enhance the self-sufficiency ratio of lumber in order to revitalize forest and forest industries in Japan. Subsidies of up to 1,000,000 yen (Cdn $12,000) per home will be awarded to selected builders who utilize a minimum of 50% “regional wood”. The program raised significant controversy because it discriminates against imported lumber and 2X4 housing. Canada Wood representatives met on May 21st with officials of MLIT’s Wooden House Promotion Office, Housing Production Division. In the dialogue, MLIT officials agreed to articulate more clearly that third party certified (PEFC & FSC) Canadian forest products are eligible to meet the criteria and 2×4 builders are also welcome to apply under this system. The result of this meeting has been reported in the monthly newsletter of Japan 2×4 Home Builders Association. The Association members heavily rely on Canadian lumber supply and appreciated our efforts that led to MLIT’s re-confirmation that 2X4 is perfectly eligible in the system. The first application deadline for this subsidy is June 8th and will be followed by a second application period later this fiscal year. In total, an estimated 7,000 homes are expected to receive this subsidy within this fiscal year. At this stage, the Regional Type House Branding System is scheduled to expire at the end of this fiscal year.