My monthly message is now back after a few months break since May. During that period, a variety of events took place and it is hard to choose which of them I should mention here. So, please let me get to them little by little.
In June, after a long interval, I returned to Japan for home leave. The hot summer there welcomed (?) me for the first time in years. During my leave, I had several speaking engagements in Japan including lectures on diplomatic issues at universities and a talk on the history of Japanese Canadians at the Japanese Overseas Migration Museum in Yokohama.
My university lectures covered subjects such as: What is diplomacy? What diplomatic activities take place in the real world? And I spoke on public diplomacy which is the interface between people’s daily life and diplomacy. While we are hardly aware of diplomacy as something affecting us in our daily lives, I told the university students that diplomacy was related to our lives in many ways that were not obvious. The students were attentive to the lectures and listened with keen interest. I received a lot of positive feedback including comments by some that the lecture opened their eyes to see the news reports on international problems as also being their own problems.
At the Japanese Overseas Migration Museum in Yokohama, I talked about the history of Japanese immigrants in Canada. Our Consulate in Vancouver has been hosting a series of forums named ‘Parallel Paths – Japanese Diplomacy and Nikkei Heritage’ as one of the commemorative events to mark the 125th anniversary since our establishment. Based on the lectures at these forums, I talked about the Consulate’s involvement with the history of Japanese Canadians which started in the mid-19th century. The talk drew a strong response from the audience as many of them had never heard of the hardship that Japanese Canadians had undergone during and after World War II. I understand that now the museum is going to increase their display on the history of Japanese migration to Canada which is different from Japanese migration to the United States or to South America.
Next year will mark the 50th anniversary of the sister-city relationship between Vancouver and Yokohama. I met with representatives from the City of Yokohama to discuss possible commemorative events to celebrate the long lasting friendship between the two cities and also discussed the collaboration by the two cities on the planning of some concrete programs. I am hoping that both cities will bring forward ideas such as a dragon boat race exchange and information sharing as green cities in order to prepare for the 50th anniversary.
Consul General of Japan in Vancouver