The Japanese government has decided to build low-rise public facilities such as school buildings and libraries with timber, reversing the government’s no-wood policy.

The decision is a result of the country’s law to promote the use of timber for public construction. Under the proposal, buildings with a height of up to nine meters and total floor space of up to 3,000 square meters will be built with wood. The regulations will cover a majority of one and two-story public facilities.

Buildings taller than nine meters will be required to use lumber for interiors, equipment and fuel. Exceptions include prisons, facilities to accommodate evacuees from natural disasters and storage depots for hazardous materials or high-value cultural assets.

The government plans to revive the forestry industry with the implementation of these measures. The Central government will release its progress on the proposal every year and local governments are also requested to follow suit.