I am posting my web message for the first time in several months. In my last message back in June, I wrote “it has been quite summer-like here in Vancouver,” but now it is already November and winter scenes are replacing autumn scenes. It will be the end of the year before we know it.
In July and August, our consulate engaged in various cultural events which were all well attended. They included festivals in which we collaborated with the local Japanese Canadian communities, and concerts by performers invited from Japan which we organized: one concert by jazz pianist Kentaro Kihara, and several shamisen concerts by Mr. Hiroshi Yamaguchi.
In September, Ambassador Monji, who newly arrived at Ottawa as Japanese Ambassador, paid an official visit to the Province of British Columbia. Our consulate hosted a lecture by Ambassador Monji in which he spoke about the future prospects for Japan-Canada relations.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement, which was mentioned in the Ambassador’s lecture, was signed at the beginning of October. After arduous negotiations, twelve Pacific-Rim countries including Japan and Canada finally reached a comprehensive trade agreement that contains tariff-cutting on automobiles, agricultural products and so forth.
This agreement is particularly essential to promote future trade between Japan and Canada. For example, the existing 6.1 % tariff on imported passenger vehicles from Japan will be eliminated in 4 years, and the current 6.0 % tariff on auto parts is to be immediately removed. As well, Japan will eliminate its tariffs on cheese and powdered milk from Canada.
In that way, an increase of the free-trade of goods and services as well as exchanges of people between Japan and Canada will be an outcome of the TPP, and further advancement of economic relations between the two countries is expected.
On October 19, a Canadian federal election was held; the Liberal Party, led by Mr. Justin Trudeau, formed a single-party majority government, winning 184 seats. We’re now getting the first glimpse of how the new Trudeau government will handle the political administration.
On October 28, the new Canadian leader had a teleconference with Prime Minister Abe of Japan; the preparation for the summit meetings by the two prime ministers has been underway for the upcoming COP21 in Paris and APEC in Philippines in November. I am hoping that Japan-Canada relations will see further development under the new Trudeau government.
Consul General of Japan in Vancouver
Consul General Okada’s Web Message
November 21, 2015