Paper industries must stop ancient forest destruction

Press release - 2 September, 2004
Greenpeace Japan today held a peaceful demonstration in front of the headquarters of Oji Paper Co. and Nippon Paper Industries Co. with a life-size photo-banner of a Tasmanian tree-stump (1). Written across the photo was the slogan: "Stop Ancient Forest Destruction!" Greenpeace is urging the two companies to take swift action to protect Tasmanian ancient forests.

Greenpeace Japan holds a peaceful demonstration in front of the headquarters of Oji Paper Co. and Nippon Paper Industries Co. with a life-size photo-banner of a Tasmanian tree-stump.

Activists at today's demo were wearing t-shirt's that read: "Stop Ancient forest Destruction" and they handed out leaflets with the message: "take your voice to Oji Paper and Nippon Paper Industries" to morning commuters in Tokyo's busy Ginza district.

Sakyo Noda, a Greenpeace Japan volunteer who staffed the Global Rescue Station or tree-sit in Tasmania's Styx Valley last year atop a Tasmanian tree, was among the 20 activists present.

The group delivered a letter signed by Greenpeace and Chip Stop Tasmania (2) outlining the demand for ancient forest protection to the two companies. The document called for an immediate stop to purchases of woodchips sourced from Tasmania's ancient forest destruction and requested to switch to sustainably managed forests such as those certified by FSC®.

Deforestation of the Tasmanian ancient forest is led by Australia's largest logging company Gunns(3) which also is one of the world's largest woodchip producers. Japanese companies (4) purchase 90% of the Tasmanian woodchips.  Nippon Paper Industries and Oji Paper Co. are Gunns' primary customers. Greenpeace Japan volunteer Sakyo Noda said, "The ones who can stop the destruction of the Tasmanian ancient forest are Japanese consumers."

Greenpeace Japan is currently conducting a "cyber-action" asking people to call on Nippon Paper Industries, Oji Paper Co. and the Australian government through an e-mail campaign for ancient forest protection. So far, more than 11,000 mails have been delivered from around the world. Mitsubishi Paper Mills has responded positively to the concerns raised, and on May 12 the company stated that it will "switch to the secondary and plantation forests for woodchip sources as soon as possible."

For Greenpeace's cyber-action visit our website:

http://www.greenpeace.or.jp/cyberaction/tasmania/

Notes: (1) Life-size photograph of an old-growth tree stump: (Stumps of Slice-Tasmania, 2001-2002) photographed by Masaki Hirano of Photographers without Borders. Mr. Hirano sympathized with Greenpeace's position and offered his photograph for the group's action.(2) Chip Stop Tasmania: A Japanese citizen's group to pressure Japanese companies for saving Tasmania's ancient forests. http://www.cstj.org (3) Gunns: Woodchip producer, headquarters in Tasmania, Australia. One of world's most destructive logging companies, Gunns annually exports about 5 million tons of woodchips out of Tasmania mainly to Japan. The company adamantly refuses to stop logging old-growth trees in Tasmania despite 70% of Tasmanian citizens have voiced oppositions to its practice. (4) Other woodchip buyers from Gunns are Daio paper co., Chuetsu pulp &Paper co., Major trade firms are Mitsui Co, Itochu Corporation, Sumitomo Corporation, and Mitsubishi Corporation.