Briefing | Dec. 23, 2015

Japan’s links to rainforest destruction in Malaysia

Risks to a sustainable 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

As Japan prepares to break ground for the new Olympic Stadium in Tokyo, evidence gathered by Global Witness shows that timber linked to rainforest destruction, illegal logging, and human rights abuses can be found on construction sites across Tokyo. The findings call into question Japan’s ability to make good on its commitment to host a sustainable 2020 Olympic Games.

Japan is the world’s second largest direct importer of tropical wood, largely in the form of plywood. Nearly half of Japan’s imported plywood is sourced from Sarawak, Malaysia, where intensive logging is destroying some of the last tropical rainforests and threatening the livelihoods of tens of thousands of indigenous peoples who claim the forest as their own and depend on it for their livelihoods.

This briefing explains the risks in Japan’s timber supply chain and why Japan must urgently adopt new and effective measures to ensure the timber used for construction projects, including new Olympic venues, is legal, sustainable, and free of human rights abuses.


  • Hana Heineken

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