Few people would associate Tokyo’s iconic skyline with the rugged rainforests of Malaysia, but the rise of one is literally being built on the fall of the other. Major construction sites across the city contain the remains of one of the world’s most imperiled rainforests.

As Japan prepares to host the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, eight new venues will be built, part of an expected construction boom. Japan has committed to making the Tokyo games a model of sustainability, but the current practices of its construction industry raise questions about its ability to deliver.

Japan imports more plywood from tropical forests than any other country, which feeds its huge construction and housing industries. Half of this comes from the rainforests of the Malaysian state of Sarawak, on the island of Borneo. Sarawak is losing its tropical rainforests faster than anywhere else on earth, driven by a timber industry riddled with corruption and illegality.

This exposé, the result of a multi-year investigation, explains how Japan’s construction industry is sourcing from major Sarawak logging companies which are well documented to have been involved in illegal and massively destructive logging in the state’s vanishing rainforests. It also details the plight of indigenous communities on the front lines of a long and sometimes violent struggle to prevent logging in their ancestral forests.

Read More: HERE

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