History of BC-Japan Relations


The hardships Japanese Canadians endured during and after World War II were finally recognized, after a long redress campaign, with the Canadian government’s public apology and redress settlement in 1988,


The office was elevated to the status of Consulate General on June 15, 1963. Today, we can look back to the days of the mission’s reopening in 1952 and sense a measure of fulfillment in noting the remarkable progress that has transpired in many facets of Japan’s relations with Canada and British Columbia.


In 1952, commercial considerations were paramount in our bilateral relations. Two-way trade that year amounted to $116 million with prospects of steady expansion in the ensuing years. In 1988, the total value of our two-way trade came to more than $18 billion, with nearly half of the total accounted for by trade with British Columbia. In 2012, Japan is Canada's fourth largest trading partner.


The rapid expansion of commercial intercourse between the two countries is mirrored in the number of Japanese companies that have established their operations in British Columbia alone. In 1952, Japanese companies numbered a handful. Today, the Japanese Business Association of Vancouver (Konwakai) lists over 60 companies, contributing to the economic and social well-being of the province.


Trade and other economic considerations continue to be a vital component of our bilateral relations. But now, there are other important facets as well making their weight felt in our overall relationship.


Tourism is one visible example. Less apparent perhaps, but nonetheless essential, are the expanding initiatives being taken to forge closer interchanges and dialogue in education, science, international cooperation, and a widening range of cultural and grass roots activities.


Japan's relations with British Columbia are now growing and progressing, with encouraging speed, on a multi-dimensional level. With over 130 years of history behind us as a foundation, we can look forward with confident hope for a solid and enduring future.


Powell Street Festival, 1988
(Photo courtesy: Powell Street Festival Society
Lynda Nakashima, Photographer)


Recommended Information