Minamisanriku, a town in northeastern Japan that was essentially destroyed during the Great East Japan Earthquake of 11 March 2011, has just made history for more positive reasons: the town is now home to Japan’s first full-project FSC-certified new detached house: the “Minamisanriku Cedar House”. The Cedar House uses 98% FSC-certified materials. Holding certificate number FSC-P001805, it was built by Shizugawa Construction Co., Ltd. in cooperation with Maruhira Timber Co., Ltd. and Sakyu Co., Ltd.
FSC project certification provides third-party assurance for projects made of or containing forest-based materials from responsible sources. FSC offers various options for certifying organisations that manage projects, from small to large entities; as well as options for a variety of project types – from a single wooden boat and event infrastructure like concert stages and seating; to office buildings, housing subdivisions and civil engineering projects.
At a press conference attended by the project stakeholders, FSC Japan’s Vice Chairman Tohru Hayami told the audience that, “nine years ago, the huge tsunami caused by the earthquake greatly affected the people in this room today as well as this entire area. The fact that this house was built with sustainability in mind with FSC-certified wood makes me feel that the house is a symbol for the reconstruction of the town.”
Mr Hayami went on to express his hope that the FSC certification system will become more widespread in Japan thanks to this project, since, in recent years, there have been arrests for illegal logging even in the domestic forestry area, commenting that “domestic timber” unfortunately no longer means “legally harvested”. As such, FSC-certified timber is the most reliable option.
For FSC-certified materials to attract more attention and be used by more people in the future, “forest to house” cooperation systems like this one will be vital. “We hope that this case will spread the importance of world-class traceability and sustainability in the Tohoku region and throughout Japan, and that the use of FSC-certified wood will expand”, he concluded.