Message from Consul General Ito
The cherry trees are in full bloom and it is becoming more like spring. I was delighted that the Sakura Days Japan Fair had a great turnout and was blessed with good weather.
As usual, last month was an event-filled month.
On March 12, a reception to observe the anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake was held. All attendees observed a moment of silence for the disaster victims and I expressed thanks for the support that Japan has been receiving and gave an update on the situation in Japan. The Honourable Naomi Yamamoto, Minister of Advanced Education for the Government of British Columbia and Acting Deputy Mayor Geoff Meggs for the City of Vancouver were among the guests. As not all the supporters were invited to the reception due to the limitation of space, I would like to use this web page as an opportunity to extend my gratitude to all who have ever supported the relief efforts in Japan and I would like to ask for your continued support and kind regard for the victims.
As for Canada-Japan relations, the big news was that Prime Minister Harper traveled to Japan and met with Prime Minister Noda on March 25, where the two leaders agreed to launch bilateral Economic Partnership Agreement negotiations. If an EPA can be concluded, it will be great progress in the economic relations between our two countries. As well, a trip to Japan by the Premier of British Columbia in May was announced. I hope Premier Clarks’ visit will further strengthen the ties between Japan and British Columbia.
For the first time in 16 years the National Japanese Speech Contest was held in Vancouver following the regional contest in British Columbia. In the National Contest, where I was one of the judges, the contestants, who are the winners of the regional competitions, demonstrated an impressively high level of proficiency which made the judges’ job quite difficult. I was pleased with the enthusiasm that many Canadians have been showing in studying the Japanese language.
A long winter is finally over and I am hoping a wonderful summer is just around the corner.
April 13, 2012