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Popularity of wooden housing drops to record low of 73.6% in Japan

JIJI

Interest in wooden housing among Japanese has hit the lowest level since 1989, apparently reflecting high maintenance costs and vulnerability to fires, a Cabinet Office survey has shown.

The share of respondents preferring to build or buy wooden homes stood at 73.6 percent, dipping below 80 percent for the first time since the survey began 30 years ago.

Homes made of other materials, such as ones using reinforced concrete and steel frames, were chosen by 23.7 percent, while 2.7 percent said they had no idea.

The proportion of respondents uninterested in wooden housing sharply increased after standing at around 15 percent in previous surveys.

“We need to promote the positive aspects and the safety of wooden housing,” a Forestry Agency official said.

The latest survey also found that 36.1 percent of respondents wanted woods and forests whose owners are unknown to be handed over to the state, while 24 percent favored ownership by private businesses. Meanwhile, 16.4 percent sought temporary maintenance of them by the public sector while 14.6 percent called for private firms to maintain them.

In the nationwide survey, conducted from Sept. 26 to Oct. 6, valid responses were received from 51.5 percent of 3,000 people age 18 and older.