The hardships Japanese Canadians endured during and after World
War II were finally recognized, after a long redress campaign, with
the Canadian governments public apology and redress settlement
The office was elevated to the status of Consulate General on June
15, 1963. Today, we can look back to the days of the missions
reopening in 1952 and sense a measure of fulfillment in noting the
remarkable progress that has transpired in many facets of Japans
relations with Canada and British Columbia.
In 1952, commercial considerations were paramount in our bilateral
relations. Two-way trade that year amounted to $116 million with
prospects of steady expansion in the ensuing years. In 1988, the
total value of our two-way trade came to more than $18 billion,
with nearly half of the total accounted for by trade with British
Columbia. In 2012, Japan is Canada's fourth largest trading partner.
The rapid expansion of commercial intercourse between the two countries
is mirrored in the number of Japanese companies that have established
their operations in British Columbia alone. In 1952, Japanese companies
numbered a handful. Today, the Japanese Business Association
of Vancouver (Konwakai) lists over 60 companies, contributing to
the economic and social well-being of the province.
Trade and other economic considerations continue to be a vital
component of our bilateral relations. But now, there are other important
facets as well making their weight felt in our overall relationship.
Tourism is one visible example. Less apparent perhaps, but nonetheless
essential, are the expanding initiatives being taken to forge closer
interchanges and dialogue in education, science, international cooperation,
and a widening range of cultural and grass roots activities.
Japan's relations with British Columbia are now growing and progressing,
with encouraging speed, on a multi-dimensional level. With over
130 years of history behind us as a foundation, we can look forward
with confident hope for a solid and enduring future.
Powell Street Festival, 1988
(Photo courtesy: Powell Street Festival Society
Lynda Nakashima, Photographer)