Japanese construction market creates opportunities for environmental bio-based products

bio-based wood-construction construction-materials
Junior Advisor
Inka-Liisa Häkälä
Japanese construction markets are increasingly focusing on wooden structures and environmentally friendly solutions. The government is now heavily pushing to increase wooden building and use of domestic wood resources that are currently under-utilized due to bad forest management. The market lacks cost-effective use for wood that is too low quality for traditional wooden construction.

This proves a business change for Finnish high-end products and expertise in wooden building as well as for Finnish innovative bio-based products that can substitute for the traditional less environmentally friendly options. Finnish offering can furthermore benefit from the popularity of Finnish design and Finland's positive country image that includes essential attributes to the current construction trend, namely clean and safe. Due to coming changes in legislation, notoriously badly insulated Japanese houses will require better insulation systems, which can offer a change for tested Finnish knowledge.

Companies and sectors benefiting from this opportunity

The opportunity provides changes for both licensing and product exports for:

  • ​Construction industry
  • Companies with new innovative bio based materials that can be used in construction or interia design
Solutions or products needed
  • New environmentally-friendly and safe building materials based on wood
  • New environmentally-friendly and safe building materials based on wood that can be licenced as Japan is currently facing the challenge of over-capacity of domestic low quality wood that cannot be utilized by current players for cost effectiveness etc. reasons ​
  • Wooden construction specialists;
    • know-how on CLT and other wooden high-rise construction
    • value chain management from forestry to end production

Team Finland activities available for Finnish companies

To grab this opportunity, consider attending the following activities organized by Team Finland:

  • ​Home & Building show 2019 organized in Tokyo from November 13 to November 15, 2019
  • Delegation visits for bio economy
  • World Circular Economy Forum Business Finland side event focused on new bio materials on June 5, 2019 
  • Finland Olympic pavillion in Tokyo 2020 Olympics is available for companies willing to showcase their materials and technologies in Japanese markets


For more information on the business opportunity, please contact inka-liisa.hakala (at) businessfinland.fi

Additional information on the Olympic pavilion opportunity can be attained from:

Petri Tulensalo, Head of Sports Cluster petri.tulensalo (at) businessfinland.fi

Background information

Japanese legislation was changed in 2010 to promote wood building for the public sector. According to this legislation, all minor public buildings should be made of mostly wood. After the legislation, the percentage of wood based structures in public buildings has risen to11,7 % (2015), and out of buildings lower than 3 floors, the percentage has risen to 26 % (2015). Wood material self-efficiency rate in Japan has increased for 6 years in a row after the legislation, but it is still only 34,8% (2016). Public spending on construction increased by more than a hundred million yen between 2012 and 2016.

At the same time, Japan is also suffering from unutilized forestry resources due to bad forestry management. Not enough cost-effective ways of utilizing poor quality wood are available. Furthermore, in 2020 a new The Energy Conservation Law will come into force, requiring a higher level of insulation for housing. This will increase the need for new innovative insulation solutions that can adhere Japanese strict conditions such as humidity.