“This year’s 90th anniversary of Japan-Canada diplomatic relations is a perfect opportunity to assess our current relationship and plan for the future,” said Japan’s Ambassador to Canada Kimihiro Ishikane. “Relations between our two countries are strong, but we need to make sure we do not get complacent. There is huge potential to build on our relationship, especially as Canada continues to strengthen its ties with countries across the Asia Pacific region. In the political security arena, we are seeing more dialogue and we are working to ensure this continues. In terms of Canada-Japan business, tourism, energy, technology, trading, manufacturing and commodities are areas in which we see huge potential.”

As Canada and Japan work more closely together, the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), a free trade agreement between Canada, Australia, Brunei, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam looks set to benefit Canada’s diverse economy.

“In 2019, the Canada-Japan relationship is definitely on a steadier and more positive track as a result of the ratification and implementation of the CPTPP on Dec. 30, 2018,” said David Worts, executive director of the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association of Canada. “Moreover, we are now in the second year of celebrations for the 90th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Canada and Japan. For our members in particular, the CPTPP was an essential achievement that will level the playing field by allowing vehicle imports from Japan to be competitive with vehicle imports from all other countries that have preferential trade agreements with Canada, including the U.S., Mexico, South Korea and the European Union.”

While the 90th anniversary celebrations continue, it is clear that the Canada-Japan relationship is at a “new stage.”

“There has been a recent deepening of relations between Japan and Canada and both countries are entering a new stage in their relationship,” said Tatsuya Toyama, president of Toronto Shokokai. “Canada is rich in information communication technology, human resources, research and development, artificial intelligence and the ‘internet of things.’ being big business here in Canada. Japanese companies are increasingly interested in partnering with Canadian companies in these areas and Canadian technology startups are also interested in entering the Japanese market. Today, Canada and Japan have the potential to be even stronger partners and both sides continue to make every effort to better understand one another. With the Rugby World Cup taking place in Japan later this year, the Tokyo Olympics in 2020 and the 2025 World Expo taking place in Osaka, all eyes are on Japan at the moment and this is good for tourism, investment and trade. We want to encourage Japanese companies and investors to rediscover the opportunities in Canada as we support Japanese companies and their growth in the country.”