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A market assessment of wood use in Japanese residential flooring of windows Wahl, Antje

Abstract

In the past, building products for residential construction in Japan were produced almost exclusively domestically. However, imports of building products such as wood flooring and wood windows have been increasing for economic reasons and because many imported western-style products are not available on the domestic market. The purpose of this study is to find out more about Japanese products, markets and industry in wood flooring and windows, since little information exists for potential suppliers outside of Japan. The study collected exploratory information through personal interviews with house builders in Japan and a fax survey among manufacturers of wood flooring and windows in Canada. The Japanese wood flooring market is very large and is supplied primarily by domestic production. The most common type is composite flooring made of plywood or fibreboard overlaid with veneer. Based on information gathered in this study, respondents preferred ready-to-install, light, colour-matched floors with polyurethane finish. The best opportunities for Canadian manufacturers exist for moderately priced solid softwood and hardwood flooring and for ready-to-install veneered softwood flooring. Japan's window market is dominated by aluminium, but the demand for wood windows is growing and most of this demand is covered by imports. Northern Japan and residential areas where fire regulations do not apply present the best potential markets for wood windows. Aluminium-clad wood windows have the best prospects. While the Japanese housing market is shrinking in the long-term, opportunities are identified in the growing markets for wood flooring and windows.

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