Message from Consul General Ito
The days are getting much longer although the recent weather is frustrating with only occasional clear blue skies.
Two events concerning the history of Japanese Canadians took place coincidentally in the past month. On May 7th, a motion in the British Columbia Legislature in Victoria calling for the Provincial Government to offer an official apology to Japanese Canadians for their treatment during World War II was presented by the Honorable Naomi Yamamoto, Minister of Advanced Education and was unanimously adopted. After receiving an invitation, I quickly went to Victoria and witnessed the adoption of the motion in person. As well, on May 30, an Honorary Degree Ceremony was held at UBC for the Japanese Canadian students who were forced to give up their academic studies due to the outbreak of war. The ceremony, which I attended, was quite touching. As a Japanese, I found the recent two events matters for congratulations and would like to express my respect for the courage of Canadian people to face up to the dark parts of their history, although, strictly speaking, the Japanese government has no say in either case because these are domestic matters of Canada and the affected people are Japanese Canadians who claim that they were discriminated against in spite of being Canadian citizens.
Also in May, Premier Clark’s Japan visit took place, which had been pending for a long time. Her itinerary included a visit to the disaster-stricken area in Tohoku, meeting with Her Imperial Highness Princess Takamado, as well as meeting with government officials: Mr. Edano, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, and Mr. Nakano, Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs. The premier also met with a number of business leaders. She told me that she was satisfied with the outcome of the visit. I believe that the relationship between British Columbia and Japan should not be viewed as a one-time event, and that continued efforts to maximize the outcome from her trip are essential to strengthen the relationship. Our Consulate would like to make further efforts to foster the relationship.
On June 6, a conferment ceremony for Mr. Mitsuo Hayashi was held at my official residence. For his contribution to the Japanese community, and with gratitude from this office, Mr. Hayashi, Chairman of the Nikkei National Museum and Cultural Centre was awarded the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Rays. I would like to congratulate him for receiving the award and wish him good health and continued success in his community work.
Many of you are now making holiday plans for the upcoming season. Please have an enjoyable summer holiday!
June 13, 2012