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Cardboard producer Rengo's mill in Yashio, Saitama Prefecture -- not far from Tokyo

Record exports offset hard times at home for Japan's papermakers

How long can they lean on China and Southeast Asia in the digital age?

MASASHI IJICHI, Nikkei staff writer | China

TOKYO -- Japan's paper and paperboard exports reached a new high in 2016 and continue to surge. For suppliers hit by dwindling domestic demand, the Chinese and Southeast Asian markets are exploding at just the right time.

Annual exports grew 17.5% on the year to 1.37 million tons, blowing past the previous record of 1.33 million tons logged in 2002, according to the Japan Paper Association. This past February, paper and paperboard exports jumped 17.7% on the year, to a record 134,000 tons, beating the 126,000 tons shipped in July 2002.

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