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Business trends

Furniture vs. whisky barrels in Japan's tight lumber market

Timber and transport prices have jumped sharply over past few years

Walnut is among the go-to varieties for tables among furniture makers, chosen for its hardness and material quality. (Photo by Miki Nose)

TOKYO -- Furniture prices in Japan have been on the rise recently, with industry watchers pointing to the growing popularity of domestically made whisky and its aging casks as contributing to a shortage of timber.

Karimoku Furniture has hiked prices about 10% on almost all its products, starting with deliveries made last summer. Sharply higher costs for raw materials and shipping prompted the move.

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