Consul General Okada’s Web Message for October 2013
The trees in Vancouver have quickly brought autumn hues to the streets as October has started. In front of my official residence, I have seen a number of chestnuts fall from a large tree and I was hoping to eat them as they resemble the sweet chestnuts found in Japan. Someone told me that they were horse chestnuts and unfortunately not sweet enough to eat.
Since my last message, various events have taken place within a short period of time, which have significantly advanced the diplomatic relations between Canada and Japan.
On September 23 and 24, Prime Minister Abe visited Ottawa, and met with Prime Minister Harper. This was in fact the first visit by a Japanese Prime Minister to Canada in 7 years. During their summit meeting, the two discussed several issues including cooperation between Canada and Japan on energy matters, landing rights to Haneda Airport in Tokyo for Canadian and Japanese carriers, and defense cooperation. Summit meetings like this one have great importance as top leaders from respective nations indicate to each other the intentions of their diplomatic cooperation.
At the end of September, after the two leaders exchanged their views, further discussions took place in Vancouver to negotiate the landing rights, and the two governments agreed on the opening of Air Canada flights to Haneda Airport as well as flights of ANA, Japan’s leading carrier, from Haneda Airport to Canada.
In addition to the above events, from October 10 to 12, Mr. Motegi, Japan’s Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry visited Vancouver to discuss energy strategies with Mr. Oliver, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources. The two ministers agreed on the future partnerships and practical aspects of energy issues and signed a statement.
Minister Motegi also met with Premier Clark of British Columbia. In the meeting, Minister Motegi expressed Japan’s interest in the importation of natural gas from BC at a consistent and internationally competitive price. Premier Clark also voiced her positive views supporting the export of natural gas to Japan, the world largest natural gas importer. As a result of their talks, Premier Clark is planning to travel to Japan at the beginning of December in order to discuss more concrete cooperation strategies.
I trust that the recent progress – the summit meeting and successive discussions by ministerial level representatives and government officials, which reflect the directionalities presented in the summit meeting – has surely elevated the credibility of Japan’s diplomacy and greatly reinforced Japan’s ties to Canada.