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2020 Olympics – “no” to tropical timber!

We, the undersigned, demand that the Japanese authorities:

1) do not permit the use of wood involving the destruction of rainforests and the violation of human rights or the rights of indigenous peoples for the buildings or the construction work associated with the Olympic Games.

2) ensure that timber is carefully checked for legality, observance of human rights and sustainability before it is approved for use in Japan. The origin of the wood must be cleanly declared and verifiable.

The Japanese government has promised sustainable Olympic Games for 2020. Independent investigations, however, now point to a strong likelihood that tropical plywood from Sarawak will be used as concrete formwork for the construction of the Tokyo Olympic venues, including the new Olympic Stadium.

Sarawak is experiencing one of the highest rates of deforestation in the world and is combating illegal logging. Indigenous communities have been fighting against deforestation and land theft for decades. More than 200 cases are pending before the courts in which indigenous villages are taking action against logging and plantation companies. Legality, sustainability and observance of human rights have to be verified correspondingly carefully for wood originating from a context such as Sarawak.

The “Green Purchasing Law” applies to the purchase of timber for the Olympics. The law cannot guarantee that no illegally felled timber or timber originating in contexts involving the violation of human rights will arrive on the Japanese market. The new "Clean Wood Act" does not provide a prohibition against trading in illegal timber. It is left to the companies to choose whether they want to implement standards for procurement of legal timber.

The petition is addressed to all Japanese authorities who are involved in the construction of the new Olympic Stadium, namely to the Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, the metropolitan government of Tokyo, the Minister for the Olympics, the Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and the Japanese Sports Council.

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