in Japanese[日本語]


International Symposium on Countermeasures for Illegal Logging
"Stop the Illegal Logging" Summary


Date: June 24, 2003 (Tue) 10:00 to 12:30

Venue: Akasaka Prince Hotel, "Shinryoku no Ma" Room

Organizer: Japan Federation of Wood Industry Associations (JFW)

Sponsors: The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of Japan, Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia in Japan

Attendants: About 150 attendants

Moderators: Mr. Yukichi Konohira, Professor of Nihon University and Chairman of Forestry Administration Council

<Speech Outline> (In the order of speech)

Mr. Naoto Kitamura, Vice Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries

We have established a close and cooperative relationship between Japan and Indonesia, particularly in the field of forestry. Based on our cooperative relationship, we last year inaugurated "Asia Forestry Partnership"(AFP) for the promotion of sustainable forestry management. It is in the light of that, now, the Ministers of both countries are going to sign the joint announcement and action plan, with the leaders of both Japan and Indonesia in attendance. These are plans, soundly based on cooperation between Indonesia and Japan, to systematically promote the following: the supervision of legally logged wood, the development of a tracking system, and the study of the elimination of illegally logged wood from distribution and trade.

In this symposium, I sincerely hope that there will be active discussions about illegal logging issues in Japan and Indonesia, and that Japan and Indonesia will further deepen their mutual understanding.

Dr. Muhammad Prakosa, Minister of Forestry of the Republic of Indonesia

I was officially appointed to the post of the Minister of Forestry in August 2001. At that time, I was shocked by the extraordinary way in which Indonesia' s forests had been so destroyed.

When President Megawaty appointed me to be the Minister of Forestry, she told me that my mission was to make strenuous efforts to protect the forests and to prevent deterioration of forests, at any cost and by any means. I therefore set out to change our forestry policy. That meant that we needed to restore the functions of the forests, so that it again became appropriate to call them ‘forests' , and also to protect the remaining virgin forests. We will redirect their development, away from the previous emphasis on logging and towards their preservation and recovery.

To speak definitively: we will, gradually, reduce production and logging and recover and preserve the run down and deserted forests, all in order to transform their development into forests which are sustainable.

The main reasons for the destruction of forests are illegal logging and forest fire. A further factor is the change the forest land for other uses.

This destruction of our forests affects not only the lives of people living around them but also the global environment, with which we are very much concerned. The world' s people are equally concerned and so they, also, have an interest in this issue. Therefore we, the Ministry of Forestry, are considering countermeasures against illegal logging and forest fire.

Our present policy has five significant essentials:
(1) the elimination of illegal logging,
(2) the prevention of forest fire
(3) the reorganization of the forestry sector, in order to keep the balance between the wood industry' s demand for its raw material and the forests' productive capacity
(4) the recovery and maintenance of forest resources
(5) the decentralization of power in the forestry sector, that is the devolution of power to the local governments.

First: the issue of illegal logging is both wide-range and complicated and it is difficult to work out countermeasures. There are Mafia groups, in and outside of our country, involved in illegal logging and who manage and deal in it. Countermeasures therefore need to be handled both at the domestic level and also at that of foreign affairs. All other countries, which are related in Indonesia' s illegal logging, need to tackle this. We have had some good results, but they have not been good enough. Most illegal logging results from demands originating in other countries. In point of fact, almost all illegally logged timbers are consumed by other countries. This countermeasure calls for cooperation at the international level.

The Bali Manifesto was announced at the East Asia Ministerial Conference held in September 2001. This Manifesto confirmed that all the related countries would take immediate countermeasures against this illegal logging. Japan, too, would cooperate in this so that, today, this joint announcement will be signed by Japan and Indonesia.

We have concluded the same sort of agreement with England and China. Basing themselves on today' s jointly signed announcement, the governments of both Japan and Indonesia have specified definite countermeasures against illegal logging, now to be put into practice. If this joint announcement can be developed into an International Treaty then the production of illegally logged timber will have been stopped at the highest level. We need to develop this joint announcement to such a level; a level yielding maximal effect.

There are two factors in the issue. The people themselves living around forests are sometimes hired to engage in illegal logging. They have to have some income to live, so that it is not easy to solve the problem if we view the issue solely in terms of criminal offence. We need a long-term vision and must understand the issue from a social point of view. That means that we must promote a social forestry program which aims at the enhancement of the welfare and the improved livelihood of the local people. I believe that it is essential that the local people jointly manage the forest resources.

In connection with criminal offence, the countermeasures against illegal logging are to be taken in cooperation with the officials of other governments, including the police, naval, and customs offices. We are quite convinced that illegal logging in our country will steadily decrease.

As for forest fires, my information is that they are mainly caused by humans. Therefore, it is not enough just to talk in generalities about fire extinguishing, we must issue actual warnings to increase the sensitivities of the local people in all their daily activities.

As for the reorganization of the forestry sector, I feel that the present wood industry has grown too great, in the light of the forests' sustainable productivity. We therefore recommend a soft landing. What that amounts to is to promote reorganization by reducing the production of logs from our natural forests. In the event, there are many voices of resistance to be heard from the wood industry. Despite this resistance, however, we must go ahead with it. For the reorganization of forestry sector, we need to keep the balance between supply and demand. In fact, we have been producing 20 million m3 of logs annually from natural forests. However, we have gradually reduced that and, this year, we produced 6.8 million m3 , which in turn will be reduced to 5.7 million m3 in 2004. We will certainly achieve it in our general forestry protection. We shall, also, reorganize companies which have concessions.

In accordance with our forest policy of restoration and maintenance, we are in large scale rehabilitation and reforestation. We are also promoting preservation activities, even for our natural forests, still in good condition. We also designate such forests as natural reserves and so maintain and protect the biodiversity.

Many people protest that our present forestry policy is too severe. Of course, unemployment will be increased with the reduction of the wood industry. However, we must do it. On the other hand, there are voices which support our ban of logging. All we can now do is to aim at a soft landing, where production is reduced, gradually and step by step.

The issue of the decentralization of power in forestry sector is also very sensitive. When the Shalt Administration changed over to the Habibi Administration they pushed the reform so hard that the general public became confused and laws fell into contempt. At that time, in fact, the destruction of forests was increased. The prefectural governments failed to manage the transfer process of decentralization, and over-issued small-scale logging concessions.

The assignment of such small-scale logging concessions ensured that reckless deforestation became commonplace. The devolution of power to local governments should be performed gradually, and over the long term. Therefore, power should not be decentralized until both the local and the central organizations have come to a mutual understanding and are prepared to develop responsible policies. For this reason, it is necessary to foster human resources and organizations at the local government level.


Mr. Shigeo Iwase, Director of Tokyo Tropical Timber Sawmillers' Cooperative Association

The amount of sawn tropical wood has decreased to 1%, based on the amount, 30 years ago, as 100%. Because of the prohibition on importing raw-log from Indonesia, mentioned above, these raw-logs were all imported from countries other than Indonesia. 40% of the total import amount of sawn tropical wood is from Indonesia. However, the amount sent to Tokyo also decreased to one third or less during that 30 years.

Due to the decrease in imports of tropical wood, a growing number of design offices intend to decrease tropical timber as much as possible at the design stage, since imported wooden products will also be reduced.

We, the companies dealing with tropical timber, will not deal with illegally logged timber at all. We hope that the producing countries will maintain surveillance on illegal logging and that the exporting countries will issue official certificates for legal timber. We on our side are not able to decide what is and what is not illegally logged, after the trees have been logged and their timbers been produced.

It has been said that Japan needs to check them at the water' s edge. That, however, is not practical, because the importing countries cannot decide between what is legal and what is illegal.

When the exporting countries take countermeasures against illegal logging then, if the costs are increased, the demand for tropical wood will be lowered. In all circumstances, our industries dealing with tropical timber look for sustainable logging in forests, and a stable and permanent supply of tropical timbers, which will indeed greatly facilitate our work on our side.


Mr. Katsuyuki Oumi, Executive Director of Japan Plywood Manufacturers' Association

Looking at the results over recent years, 35% of all plywood boards, which are the basic architectural material in our country, has been imported from Indonesia. We, the manufacturers, have a role to stabilize the supply of the plywood boards responding to a certain demand. Therefore, we have a great interest in the supply of logs, in particular to the plywood industry in Indonesia. We have, in discussion with APKIND, understood the direction of Indonesian government' s wood production policy. However, we expect the stable change of the amount of lumber from Indonesia' s natural and artificial forests, and we consider a stable supply of plywood boards to be of importance to our country.

We believe that the supply of Japanese Agricultural Standard (JAS) certified plywood boards, of appropriate value and standards, is very important to our country. We would like to hear from the Minister of Forestry of Indonesia on the subject of the practicability of JAS certification.

Mr. Prakosa have told us that there will be a gradually reduction in the logging from natural forests. We would like to ask you how much you think the standard will be, in 4 to 5 years' time, as stable and regular logging from natural forests.


Mr. Takahiro Kohama, Acting Secretary-General of Japan Tropical Forest Action Network (JATAN)

The present state of the forests in Indonesia is quite severe. The people most immediately affected by this wasting and destruction of the forests are said to be some 50 million whose living depends upon the forests.

They also claim that there is not one national park in Indonesia where there has not been illegal logging. The issue is not confined to Indonesia, but extends also to the large-scale illegal timber exports to Malaysia and China. It has also been revealed that the timbers illegally imported into Malaysia are subsequently legalized and then exported to the final consumer countries, including Japan.

We would like to propose three points for the joint announcement and the action plan.

First, we would like the Indonesian government to promote the management of forests by the local people. We have in fact received a report that illegal logging has been reduced in the areas where the forest management by the local people has been promoted.

Secondly, we would like the Japanese government to consider regulating the import of such timbers. For example, creating a new system of trading information exchange where illegally timbers could be identified.

Thirdly, we would also like the private sector to make some effort, as well as the Japanese government. For example, many North American companies can trace where the unprocessed materials of their end products have been logged and they purchase their materials on the basis of such tracking. We hope that such efforts will be made in Japan.

Many people in Japan think that the problem of illegal logging is a problem just for the producing countries. However, the view has been expressed that the necessary countermeasures must involve not just the timber producers but also the consumers, if the illegal logging problem is to be solved. It is essential that a plan of action be promoted on such a basis, and we hope that things are in fact going in that direction.


Mr. Noriyuki Kobayashi, Visiting Professor of Ehime University

As the roots of illegal logging reach deep into social problems, solving this particular problem is difficult if confined only to the forestry field. Accordingly, as the Minister of Forestry told us, I strongly hope that "social forestry" is going to be promoted.

It is true that the devolution of power to the local governments and the distribution of wealth in Indonesia have not flourished, and that they have sometimes gone too far. Given these circumstances, I became very conscious of the lack of ‘capacity building' . I myself could see the situation at places where a variety of powers have been decentralized and assigned to local governments, but without the latter' s capacity to take advantage of the devolution.

It is necessary to reduce the logging in order to achieve sustainable forest management. Opportunities for illegal logging could be created if the reduction of logging is not properly adapted to the future of the wood industry. I do expect that the wood industry in Indonesia will recover so that logging from the natural forests is reduced and that reforestation is promoted: the techniques of "social forestry" will compensate the damage. The forestry in Indonesia stands in a very good situation, so that I hope that they promote industrial forestry by effectively using such of their natural blessings.

The Minister of Forestry has told us that he would like us to develop a joint announcement to a future Forestry Treaty. However, although the anticipations for such a forestry treaty have been promoted at global level since the Earth Summit of 1992, the process has not gone very far because of the ego conflicts between the big countries. I therefore feel that it would be tentatively practical to use an existing framework (for example Target 2000 of ITTO).

Finally, I believe that the issue of illegal logging is not just one for the producing countries: it extends also to the consuming countries. It does, indeed, involve the problems of good governance over all Asia. How to establish the good governance would be a big problem. How to cope well with this problem gives a chance to showcase how we can try to create good governance in Japan, Indonesia, and other Asian countries, based on the environmental governance of the whole of Asia.


Dr. Muhammad Prakosa, Minister of Forestry of the Republic of Indonesia

To prevent dealing in illegal logging, I believe that we need to conclude a treaty with our neighboring countries, in particular with Malaysia. There is a great amount of illegal wood exported to Malaysia and we need urgently to take countermeasures on this issue. In Borneo, in only one week, we found that one thousand trucks carrying illegally logged timber are being driven from Indonesia to Malaysia. This is a terrible problem for sustainable forest management.

I have heard it said that importing countries cannot decide which timber is illegally or legally logged. Therefore, in our joint announcement, we would like to develop procedures which will enable us to cooperate with Japan in tracking legal timber.

We would like to include the suggestion proposed by Mr. Kohama in our action plan.


Mr. Toshikatsu Matsuoka, Member of the House of Representatives

I sincerely expect that the importance of the efforts to be taken against illegal logging will be appropriately recognized and shared, not only in Japan but also in the international society.

It is customary, for the most part, for illegal logging to be performed in the more remote forests; and the differentiation between illegally and legally logged wood can not be decided just by looking at it. In order to promote countermeasures to illegal logging, it is of the greatest importance to get clear on the present state of illegal logging. Therefore, it is necessary to establish arrangements for learning the precise state of affairs. This is an urgent concern, if we are to be able to cope with the problem of realizing a sustainable forest management.

Indonesia and Japan have made joint efforts to stop illegal logging. The joint announcement and action plan which will be signed today are the fruits of our present cooperation and will become the basis of our endeavours to reinforce our efforts in the actual regions.

In view of the problem' s importance and urgency, we are striving to settle the matter in cooperation with international institutions, the governments of countries involved, and NGOs, and are preparing to form an International Confederation of House Members


Mr. Takeichi Ishikawa, Deputy Secretary-General of International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO)

ITTO has regarded the issue of illegal logging and its trade as a comprehensive policy issue, arising from the judicious promotion and use of international trading in tropical timber and the sustainable management of resources.

The key to this problem lies in formulating forestry associated legislation and its appropriate enforcement. I believe that sound forestry management will contain this problem. The ITTO guidelines for the sustainable management of tropical natural forests include principles and policies related to forestry policies and law. These will open the door to settling the problems of illegal logging as well as other illegal acts related to forestry.

ITTO' s data investigation into the international marketing is very important, for it reveals omissions in illegal logging reports, particularly in those on forest products, and the realities of illegal trading. However, there are big differences between the figures on the data provided by ITTO member countries. These differences cover the actual costs of preventing illegal trading, and establishing customs, duty, and tax assessment. Because the ITTO collection and reporting of statistical data should be improved, we need to arrange training and workshops in the statistics of tropical forestry and the timber trade.

A timber product origin certificate is of important significance in dealing with illegal logging. ITTO is studying the gradual establishment of such certification. We also take part in the Leadership Meeting of Asia Forest Partnership (AFP). We shall attend the Second Meeting held in July.

We in ITTO will continue our activities to stop illegal operations and trade related to forests. We would like to work hard and in close cooperation with the member countries.


Mr. Byron Sigel, Japan Representative of The Nature Conservancy (TNC)

We protect the biodiversity of the sites in cooperation with the companies, governments and NGOs.

Last year, TNC and WWF planned a large-scale agreement to prevent illegal logging at the sites in cooperation with the NGOs which then began their efforts to stop the trading of illegally lumbered wood. Various governments and companies have supported our activities.

In these activities we are working out plans to stop illegal logging at the sites, in cooperation with the various stake holders and on the basis of our own appreciation of the nature conservation groups. We believe that, in future, we will need to develop our activities and take various measures to make clear the responsibilities of Japanese companies and its government.

There are three partners (the Japanese Government, the Indonesian Government and Civil Society) in the "Asia Forest Partnership". We are included in the Civil Society. The activities of this Partnership are at the center of everybody' s hopes. We will focus on these activities.

The project of introducing the timber tracking systems will be commenced in cooperation with TNC and Indonesian Government.

In this connection, not only the governments of Indonesia and Japan, but also those of their adjacent countries, including Malaysia and Singapore should be making strenuous efforts .

Finally, another role of the International NGOs is to ensure transparency. As NGOs are groups with an independent standpoint, unlike private companies and governments, they are the most appropriate organizations to maintain the regulations preventing illegal logging and providing a place for statistics and cooperation. I believe that illegal logging can be prevented if the governments, the private companies, and the NGOs maintain a first-class partnership.


(Responsible person for document: Masahiko Kato, JFW)