s j archer
December 18th, 20112011 was a memorable year for the Canada-Japan Society of British Columbia.
In February, the Society hosted round table discussions with industry and government leaders who are working to improve Canada-Japan trade.
The tragic events in March following the Great Tohoku Earthquake captured all of our attention for some time, but we soon became active in co-sponsoring and organizing the “Re-engagement Japan” seminar in conjunction with Federal Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, the British Columbia Government Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Innovation, the Consulate-General of Japan in Vancouver, the Japan External Trade Organization, and our corporate member, Davis LLP. The event was remarkably successful in terms of the number of participants coming from a variety of industries. It was well received by 144 attendees, many of whom were new to the Japanese market.
The “Re-engagement Japan” event was a good indication that more Canadian companies understand anew the significance of Canada’s foundational relationships with Japan and the Japanese market, both in and of itself as well as within the context of the Asian neighbourhood, where India and China loom large but still present significant risks.
The highlight of 2011 for many of us however, was the “2011 Fall Gala Dinner” on November 22nd, which featured our Ambassador to Japan, the Honourable Jonathan T. Fried. This event was a great success. We welcomed 191 guests, including the Honourable Steve Thomson, British Columbia’s Minister of Forests.
At this dinner, the Tohoku and economic updates by the Ambassador Fried, as well as a report from the recent trip to Japan by Minister Thomson, captured the imagination and renewed our anticipation of continued engagement with Japan in the New Year ahead. I travel between Canada and Japan several times each year, and as with others who have had the privilege of visiting there this past year, know that the people in the Tohoku region still suffer and are in need of assistance.
British Columbia and Canada are playing a huge role assisting Japan. Just last month, the Federal and BC Governments made a joint announcement in Tokyo where the Honourable Joe Oliver, Canada's Minister of Natural Resources, the Honourable Steve Thomson, Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations for British Columbia and representatives from Canada's forest industry announced $4.5 million for the Canada-Tohoku Reconstruction Project.
British Columbia’s Premier Christy Clark is planning to visit Japan in the spring, and more Canadian companies’ business activities will follow. Our expectations are that the Economic Partnership Agreement study and recent Trans Pacific Partnership discussion will become more active in 2012.
The Canada-Japan Society of British Columbia will continue amplifying the voices of those who are involved in the Canada-Japan bilateral relationship in upcoming year, and last but not least, on behalf of the Canada-Japan Society of British Columbia’s Board of Directors, significantly driven by our Executive Director Angela Holllinger, I would like to thank you very much for your continuing support.
We wish you a very Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year.
Steven J. Archer
The Canada-Japan Society of British Columbia