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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Japanese market for dimensional lumber : a gravity model approach Otsuka, Fumiko


The research was done using both descriptive and statistical analyses to investigate the Japanese market for dimensional lumber and how this might affect the demand for wood products from British Columbia. The data was collected from various publications obtained in both Japan and Canada. The descriptive analysis was focused on Japan's domestic forest industry and the Japanese market as lumber importer. The ownership and tenure of Japanese forest land was examined with particular focus on the role of public versus private owners. The financial health of primary operators and owners was also pursued. The level of domestic log and lumber production, prices and uses of timber are identified. Then, the interaction between the Japanese domestic market and the international market for logs and lumber was examined such as activities of major existent importers and the role of trading companies. The statistical analysis of the demand for dimensional lumber was developed. A commodity specific gravity model was utilized to integrate factors both in the supply and demand sides assuming lumber was differentiated by countries of origin. The underlying theories of the gravity model was first examined for the appropriate specification of the empirical model. The variables were also specified based on the information from the descriptive analysis. One conclusion was that non-price variables which indicate power relations between importer and exporter, and among exporters have a significant role in lumber trade with Japan; the variables were production capacities, absorption powers and dummy variables for each of the exporters. In contrast, price variables such as export/import prices, exchange rate have only small impacts on the trade flows. Since Japan's needs for lumber are so diversified, consumers in Japan may choose lumber by their own purpose; prices might be the secondary factor. Finally, as the world's resource market is moving in the direction of sustainable development and resource exporting countries are tightening regulation of their resource export, Japan has been forced to adjust her trade practises.

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