Japan is a land endowed with a rich natural environment, with about 70 percent of its land covered by forest. Japanese planted forests are, however, in critical condition as a result of lack of necessary maintenance work in the country‘‘s extensive area of these forests, which require thinning at least once every ten years. Japan for Sustainability report that this is due to depopulation and aging of workers in rural areas as well as the declining forest industry caused by increasing imports of low-priced timber.

Japanese people annually use a total of about 25 billion pairs of disposable chopsticks, of which 97 percent is imported from China. This means that chopstick consumption in Japan is destroying overseas forests while leaving domestic forests without the proper care.

To address this problem, the Juon Network, a Japanese nongovernmental organization, is engaged in promoting disposable chopsticks made of wood harvested from the care of forests in Japan. The chopsticks are produced in workshops for people with intellectual disabilities in Saitama and Tokushima Prefectures. People who use Juon chopsticks are therefore supporting their social participation and independence by providing employment opportunities in the workshops.

Ano da Publicação:
WARMER BULLETIN ENEWS #26-2007-June 29, 2006
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