Olympics – “no” to tropical timber!

Olympics – “no” to tropical timber!

Tokyo is hosting the 2020 Olympic Games, which are taking place in 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The Japanese government and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) have promised sustainable games. Evidence, however, indicates that tropical timber from Sarawak and Indonesia is being used on the construction sites of the new Olympic Stadium. The Bruno Manser Fonds demands: No rainforest destruction for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics – sign the petition!

Japan has long been the focus of criticism from civil society and the international community for driving rainforest destruction through its timber consumption and weak laws regulating the legality and sustainability of sourced wood. Japan is the world’s largest importer of tropical plywood, more than half of it sourced from the rainforests of Malaysia.

Half of Sarawak’s plywood exports go to Japan. Sarawak has one of the highest rates of deforestation in the world and an extremely high rate of illegal logging. Indigenous communities in Sarawak have been fighting logging companies for decades in an effort to protect their native lands, with at times deadly consequences.

Independent investigations have linked plywood used by the Taisei Corporation, which is building the new Olympic Stadium, to a biodiversity hotspot in Sarawak that is experiencing one of the highest rates of deforestation in the world, due to extremely destructive logging practices. Taisei sources plywood from Shin Yang, which is known for violating the rights of the local communities. Several Penan communities are taking Shin Yang to court for illegal logging and land grabbing.

Last December, the Bruno Manser Fund protested at the IOC in Lausanne and handed over a letter from over 40 NGOs addressing the pronounced risk of illegal and unsustainable rainforest timber being used to construct Tokyo’s new Olympic National Stadium. IOC vice-president John Coates promised to look into the matter. In May 2017, an indigenous delegation from Sarawak and the Bruno Manser Fonds handed over a petition with over 3000 signatures to the Japanese Embassy in Bern. The petition demands that no wood from rainforest destruction be used for the construction and building work for the Olympic Games and that wood may only be allowed onto the Japanese market after thorough examination of its sustainability, legality and compliance with human rights.

We have to build up pressure and demand guarantees for sustainable games: No timber from rainforest destruction must be used for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics! Sign our petition!


For further information:
Japan’s Links to Rainforest Destruction in Malaysia: Risks to a sustainable 2020 Tokyo Olympics, 2015, Global Witness.

Broken Promises, 2018. Rainforest Action Network.

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