First we intercepted the MV Ardhianto when it was loading a thousand cubic metres of destructively logged plywood in Sorong harbour, Papua. Today, as the ship prepared to unload a slice of the Paradise Forests in Yokohama harbour, Japan, our activists were there to again demand a ban on the trade in illegal timber.
Campaigners Hapsoro and Yuka Ozaki bear witness as the MV Ardhianto unloads its cargo of plywood from the Paradise Forests. The company involved in this protest, Kayu Lapis Indonesia’s (KLI), is being investigated by the Indonesian government for sourcing illegally logged timber and for breaking forestry regulations.
The activists unfurled a banner, which read "Is This Timber Legal?" Of course, it's a rhetorical question. Ironically, Japan is one of the countries that has vowed to tackle illegal logging, via platforms such as the G8 summit.
Papua is home to one of the largest pristine forest areas left in the Asia Pacific region. Timber companies are destructively logging this amazing ecosystem so fast that it will disappear in 20 years - or less.
The company involved in this protest, Kayu Lapis Indonesia's (KLI), is being investigated by the Indonesian government for sourcing illegally logged timber and for breaking forestry regulations.
KLI's Henrison Iriana mill in Sorong, where this timber shipment came from, is known to source timber from dubious and potentially illegal sources. Not just some of its timber is suspect, either. Greenpeace has discovered that these questionable sources supplied 53% of the mill's timber in 2002, 74% in 2003 and 70% in 2004
Forest campaigner, Yuka Ozaki, says allowing timber from a company currently under investigation to unload products in Japan is totally unacceptable. "By allowing such shipments into the country, Japan is buying ancient forest destruction."
Japan is the world's largest importer of Indonesian plywood. Much of this plywood is used in construction and is thrown away once it is used.
Major buyers of KLI in Japan are Sojitz group, Toyo Materia co. and Sumisyo & Mitsuibussan Kenzai Co. Greenpeace is calling on these companies to only purchase timber and timber products certified by the Forest Stewardship Council™(FSC®).
Greenpeace Southeast Asia campaigner, Hapsoro, followed the MV Ardhianto from Sarong to Yokohama. He says companies like KLI are "unscrupulously selling out Indonesia's natural heritage".
"Great forests and their biodiversity are being destroyed as are the local communities they support, in order to satisfy the global appetite for cheap throwaway wood."