About the Society

The Canada-Japan Society of British Columbia (CJSBC) is Canada’s longest standing Asian bilateral business association.  The origins of the Society date back to 1928 when a group of local business people and professionals banded together to form The Japan Society of Vancouver.

Aiming to increase business and cultural relations between Canada and Japan in British Columbia, the CJSBC provides focused networking opportunities through a number of activities such as:

  • Roundtable discussion on the economy and business environment in Japan;

  • Discussion groups working on specific policy issues such as a free trade agreement with Japan (Economic Partnership Agreement - EPA) and the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP);

  • Networking luncheons with guest speakers such Japan’s Ambassador to Canada and Canada’s Ambassador to Japan.  Networking before and after the events leads to B2B relationship building.

  • Opportunities to meet senior BC government officials and key staff from the Japanese Consulate General’s office in Vancouver; and

  • Briefings on upcoming federal and provincial trade missions to Japan and post-mission debriefings.

  • An annual keynote Dinner bringing together business leaders from Japan and B.C.
British Columbia and Japan have a long history. Canada's first formal diplomatic relationship with Japan was the establishment of a Consulate in Vancouver in 1889.

"The decision to establish a consulate in Vancouver was based on the Japanese government's view of the city as 'a growing outlet for the commerce of the Dominion' and its belief that the city is certain to become a very large and important shipping port."
Consul Fukashi Sugimura
Vancouver World, June 19, 1889

The Canada-Japan relationship has grown and prospered over the past 130 years and the friendship between the two peoples has also blossomed. The essence of this bond is reflected in the words of a distinguished Japanese political leader.

"The relationship between Japan and Canada, initiated by Japanese immigrants to Canada and Canadian missionaries to Japan, has grown to a point that was surely beyond anyone's imagination 100 years ago."
Prime Minister Toshiki Kaifu
Vancouver, British Columbia, September 8, 1989

The goals of the Canada-Japan Society of British Columbia are: "To encourage and to increase the opportunities in British Columbia for the extension of friendship and understanding between the people of Canada and the people of Japan."

The society welcomes those interested in implementing those worthwhile goals.


During the early decades of this century, trade between Canada and Japan grew exponentially, with Japan shipping textiles and machinery to Canada, and Canada shipping the riches of our lands and waters to the Far East. In 1928, in order to promote friendship and better understanding between the two countries, a prominent group of local businessmen and professionals banded together to form The Japan Society of Vancouver. It was the first Asian bi-lateral friendship association established in Canada and, with the exception of the years during and immediately following World War II, it has been in continuous operation since that time.

With the normalization of relations between Canada and Japan in the 1950's, a consulate was re-opened in the city and many Japanese companies began establishing Canadian representative offices in Vancouver. The Society was reorganized in October of 1959, and in February of 1963, its registered name was changed to The Canada-Japan Society of Vancouver. During these years membership in the Society climbed steadily to the point where during the 1980's, it reached its present level of approximately three hundred corporate and individual members.

More recently, in May of 1992, in recognition of the fact that Vancouver is the province's gateway to the Pacific, the registered name of the Society was changed to The Canada-Japan Society of British Columbia.
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