October 1, 2010｜Russia
Researcher, Hokkaido Intellect Tank
This year the number of businesspeople visiting Sakhalin Oblast from Hokkaido has increased. While the energy-linked demand is converging following Sakhalin II becoming fully operation in March 2009, the construction-related exchange on a private-sector basis is expanding. Drivers of this are the two show homes of Hokkaido firms which were built in Sakhalin Oblast.
For the first show home, completed in February 2009, a Hokkaido house manufacturer constructed a technological tie-up with a Sakhalin Oblast investment company. When the show home was constructed, local builders, under the guidance of Japanese technicians, carried out the work. As far as was possible they used Russian-manufactured products for the building materials too, and only the insulation panels and the key materials and equipment manufactured at the company’s factory in Hokkaido were exported to Sakhalin Oblast. From the visit to Sakhalin in May 2008, which had the objective of finding a partner, to the completion of the show home in February of the following year, the company succeeded in the actual accomplishment of the project in a relative short time span. Presently also, they have effected the export of high-quality Japanese-manufactured housing materials to Russia and technical guidance.
The second show home is the “All Japan” show home, completed in September 2009. A Hokkaido firm which conducts siding production cooperated with a Sakhalin Oblast trading company, and from foundation work to completion built the house using Japanese craftsmen. Regarding the building materials, apart from the aggregate and concrete, they used only Japanese-manufactured materials. The company, since exporting external cladding materials to Sakhalin Oblast in 2003, has held seminars for construction guidance all over Sakhalin, and has been actively putting effort into the local development of human resources. The company has a number of sales agencies within Russia, and is actively advancing its business in Russia.
This year the research group centered on firms in Hokkaido, including technicians from the two abovementioned companies, put thermometers in place underground to investigate the depth of frost penetration in Sakhalin Oblast. They say that the Sakhalin side doesn’t have an idea of the actual depth of frost penetration. By means of such exchange between Japanese and Russian technicians the technological disparities between the two countries are being resolved little by little.
Local Hokkaido building firms are also getting into action on the export of northern-region homes to Sakhalin. In September this year, four building-related groups from Asahikawa dispatched a mission to Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk to propose to Sakhalin firms three plans for the conventional framework method of construction, targeting: the wealthy, using the two-by-four method of construction; duplexes; and the general public. In October this year they are planning to invite the local Sakhalin firms which showed an interest to Asahikawa, and conduct business matching with Asahikawa firms.
On Hokkaido’s part public investment has decreased with the drawn out economic downturn, and the number of housing starts has also decreased greatly. The reason that Hokkaido firms are looking to Sakhalin reflects such a social situation.
In the Russian Federation the Russian federal national priority project “Affordable and comfortable housing to Russian citizens” has been in effect since 2006, and the securing of land and the development of infrastructure, etc., for the development of the construction of houses built for sale all over the Russian Federation is vigorously underway. In Sakhalin Oblast too, the oblast’s government’s own housing program has been implemented. In addition, Sakhalin Oblast, which experiences serious earthquake damage, has formulated a program that aims to improve the earthquake resistance of homes and public facilities, and has great expectations for Japan’s earthquake-resistance technology.
In order to make business in Russia a success, tie-ups with local firms and the development of human resources in the local labor force are absolutely imperative. In order to expand the market in Russia for northern-region homes which are long-lasting, fire-resistant, earthquake-resistant, as well as energy-saving and environmentally-friendly, it is necessary to promote human exchange between Japanese and Russian technicians and continue to build up achievements one at a time.
[Translated by ERINA]