Ottawa is calling on more Japanese companies to invest in the Canadian development of critical minerals used in electric vehicle batteries in line with a bilateral agreement that could facilitate the sale of Japanese EVs in the United States.

Ian McKay, Canada's ambassador to Japan, made the pitch after the two governments struck an agreement on battery supply chains last month as part of efforts among like-minded partners to build sustainable and reliable global supply chains for electric vehicles and batteries.

Calling the agreement "unprecedented," McKay said, "We are working with Japan as the biggest EV battery opportunity for Canada over the next 50 years," with demand for electric cars surging in a global push to cut carbon emissions.