National forest logging to resume this fall in Hirono, Kawauchi

16 May 2017

The Forestry Agency announced on May 15 that it will begin cutting trees and shipping logs this fall in national forests in parts of Fukushima Prefecture after work was suspended by the 2011 nuclear accident at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima Daiichi plant. The forest areas covered will be those in 12 municipalities where evacuation zones were set up following the disaster.

The planned logging will resume on an experimental basis in one forest area in Hirono town and two areas in Kawauchi village, totaling about 7 hectares, where midair radiation dosage is relatively low. It will be gradually expanded to other areas in fiscal 2018 and thereafter.

The agency, an affiliate of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, has decided to resume logging and shipment after finding midair radiation doses in the three forest areas below the maximum level of 0.50 microsievert per hour permitting such activities, laid down by the prefectural government.

The area in Hirono is about 1 hectare in the Kamikitaba district, selected from national forest areas totaling 1,551 hectares in the town. The two areas in Kawauchi total about 6 hectares in the Kamikawauchi and Shimokawauchi districts, designated from 5,608 hectares of national forests in the village. Both municipalities had asked the agency to restart logging to help restore the local forestry industry and create jobs.

The agency will place public offering in August to select logging companies and begin the project as soon as September. Logs will be transported to the timber market for radiation tests and shipped after their safety has been confirmed.

(Translated by Kyodo News)