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Why a Japan campaign?

Each year, more than 6 million tonnes of woodchips from Australian native forests are shipped to Japan.

This means that changes in the Japanese paper manufacturing industry can have a very substantial influence on the fate of Australia's forests.

Recent projections show that the Japanese industry is responding to environmental pressure and reforming itself. By 2010 only about 15% of woodchips imported are expected to be from native forests.

If Japanese paper manufacturers introduce improved environmental practices, this can help save the remaining native forest.

Forward looking policies by some companies are already helping to change the international pulp and paper market.

Changes in corporate ownership present exciting campaigning opportunities. There has seldom been a more prospective time for lobbying Japanese paper manufacturers and their Australian associates.

  Japan strategies

1. Improved industry wide environmental standards. Any gains made here would apply across the board, to all woodchip source countries.

2. Corporate campaigns. All companies have their weaknesses and points of leverage.

3. Raising the awareness of the Japanese public and consumers about the relationship between paper, forests and wildlife.

Plantations can replace all Australia's current native forest woodchip exports. Perhaps for the first time there are genuine alternatives to woodchipping native forests without reducing resources available to industry.

Figures published in an Australian National University study (see table below) show how Australia's current native forest woodchips can replace plantation sourced pulpwood.

Australia's woodchipping industry is truly at a crossroads, with a genuine "industry credible" alternative to woodchipping native forests now available.


Source: Eucalypt Plantation Wood Flow Forecasts for Western Australia, Duggie, J. Australian National University July 2000

  Gains for Australian forests resulting from improved industry wide environmental standards are not being sought at the expense of other countries, particularly less developed countries, but we believe that Japanese companies operating in Australia can take a global lead by moving out of native forests and using more plantation hardwood from Australia's existing plantations.

Some Japanese paper manufacturers are more forward looking than others and companies such as Oji and Nippon Paper, for example are already preparing for a more realistic and environmentally conscious future by committing themselves to greater use of plantation fibre.

Activists Corner section on Nippon Paper
  Plantations and the environment

Australian environmentalists do have concerns about some plantations, especially when native forest is cleared to make way for them and excessive chemical use is practised. However, most existing plantations are in Western Australian, Victoria and South Australia where they were established on former agricultural land, already cleared.
  The Nippon Paper Daishowa merger

On 1 April 2001 Nippon Paper and Daishowa merged to form Japan's largest paper manufacturer, with over 30 percent of the market.

After kicking off with its first overseas operation in Eden in 1969, Daishowa spread rapidly around the Pacific with chipmills, pulpmills and paper mills overseas, but overwhelmingly its operations were geared to supplying its 5 mills in Japan. It saw its most important role as obtaining fibre for those mills, and it didn't particularly care how it got it.

Nippon Paper has been an industry leader in Japan in moving into replacing native forest fibre, mainly through plantations overseas.

In August 2003, the President of Nippon Unipac (the majority shareholder of South East Fibre Exports, formerly Harris-Daishowa) Mr Takahiko Miyoshi announced in Tokyo that by the year 2008 the company will obtain "100% of its woodchips from certified or planted trees". The statement is available in English on the company website at:http://www.nipponunipac.com/e/news/news03080701.html

While CHIPSTOP's immediate aim is to end native forest woodchipping in south eastern Australia by permanently closing the Eden woodchip mill, it is a fundamental principle that any gains in our region must not be at the expense of other regions of Australia or other countries, especially less developed countries.

As a condition of the Nippon Paper / Daishowa merger, the Japan Fair Trade Commission required the new company to divest itself of 8 percent of its production capacity (500,000 tonnes of copy paper). Nippon announced plans to cut production by 768,000 tonnes (copy paper equivalent), more than 50 percent higher than it needs to. The company has announced it will divest itself of two paper mills, one of which has been a major user of Eden woodchips, the Shizuoka mill (Fuji). Market conditions in Japan and elsewhere right now will make it very difficult for HDA to sell those chips anywhere else. Shizuoka accounts for 540,000 tonnes and the former NPI Otake mill 228,000 tonnes. The total production cut of 768,000 tonnes of paper is roughly equivalent to over 3 million green tonnes of woodchips. Eden produces just over 700,000 green tonnes. This saving is enough to close Eden and save a few forests in Chile, Canada and the US as well. Don't delay. Send Nippon a messagetoday.
  Open Letter to Nippon Paper

In July 2000 CHIPSTOP organised a major open letter to NPI requesting that they close the Eden chipmill following the conclusion of the merger with Daishowa early in 2001. The letter, presented to NPI on 27 July 2000 argued that NPI's native fibre replacement objective would be compromised by retaining the Eden chipmill which depends almost exclusively on native forest logs. The letter was signed by over 40 Australian and Japanese activists, Members of Parliament, prominent individuals and groups. Japanese signatories included Japan Tropical Forest Action Network, Rainbow Parade, Japan Environmental Exchange, Friends of the Earth - Kanazawa, TNC Monitor - Japan, Consumers Union of Japan, Paper Recycling Issue Group - Citizen's Action Network and the US-Japan Environmental Action Centre. A follow up meeting was held in Tokyo on 31 August.
  Text of the Nippon Paper letter

We are writing to request that following your company's merger with the Daishowa Paper Manufacturing Company, you close the Harris Daishowa woodchip mill at Eden.

Your company has been recognised for adopting a native forest replacement objective and has made significant progress towards reaching this in recent years.

The Harris-Daishowa operation produces woodchips at Eden almost exclusively from native forest trees and its retention by the merged company would severely compromise the native forest replacement objective.

It would send a signal to the world that the company no longer placed such a high value of phasing out native forest woodchips.

The Eden woodchip mill is Australia's oldest and was Daishowa's first overseas operation. It is now obsolete in its concept and function. The time has come to close it.

More than 80 per cent of Australians oppose native forest woodchipping. From the outset citizens opposed the Eden chipmill and this opposition remains undiminished after 30 years.

Australia's native animals are much loved by the Japanese and Australian people alike. We do not believe that your company would wish to be associated with the loss of these animals.

The koala and other much loved Australian animals have been driven to the brink of regional extinction by logging of their forest habitats to supply the Daishowa chipmill.

We ask that you make it a priority to close the Eden woodchip mill once the merger is concluded.
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