In representing the oldest Asian Bi-lateral Association in Canada, I am interested in exploring ways to balance organizational objectives based on the traditions of the past with the opportunities and challenges that each New Year brings.
As has no doubt been the case over the years, it will continue to be the Executive, Board of Directors and all contributing members of the Canada-Japan Society of British Columbia that have helped to shape how we develop. Thank you all.
This last year 2014, saw our broader community celebrate the 125th anniversary of the establishment in Vancouver of the first Japanese foreign mission in Canada. In particular, I commend Japanese Consul General Okada, the Honourary Chair of our Society, for his efforts throughout the year in support of this milestone. The past year has seen a resurgence in business activity between Canada and Japan, with an uptick in resource sector interests as well as Japanese investment in IT. Tourism from Japan to BC is up 7% from the year before, with perhaps the single most telling factor being the number of air carriers and flights now operating between Vancouver and Tokyo. We welcome All Nippon Airways to the community.
An often heard comment of late is that Canadians and British Columbians are taking our relationship with Japan and Japanese for granted. Perhaps we are too comfortable with the long history, too familiar with the traditional roles that each of us have played, and perhaps too easily seduced by the glitter or promise of that new other place or people with whom we are less familiar. I believe that there are signs that this is changing however, and let us hope that this is trend will continue into the New Year.
As we turn our thoughts to the year ahead and what it will bring, I would like to thank our Immediate Past President Russell T. Mark (also serving as Treasurer), Vice Presidents John Tak and Jay LeMoine (also serving as Secretary), Honourary Vice President A. John Ellis as well as the Executive Committee including Executive Director Angela Hollinger, Events Chair Bill McMichael, along with organization representatives Robert T. Banno (National Nikkei Museum and Heritage Society), Rochelle Bacigalupo (Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development, Canada), Henry Han (Ministry of International Trade, Province of British Columbia), Mike Marland (Vancouver Mokuyokai Society) as well as representatives from the Japanese Business Association of Vancouver (Konwakai).
And so I would like to thank all Society members for their continued support, and those in particular who took the time to communicate their appreciation and ideas for how we might move forward together in the New Year.
Happy New Year!
Steven J. Archer, December 31, 2014