Canadian Impact

Neil van Wouw, Chairman, Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Japan

Happy New Year to all Canadians in Japan and friends of Canada! With Canada’s 150th anniversary behind us, and building on the experience of my first six months as chair of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Japan (CCCJ), I am looking forward to a splendid 2018 and creating many more great memories.

Year ahead

There are some events so influential that they become beacons. For 2018 this is the G7 summit. In June, Canada is hosting the 44th G7 summit at Le Manoir Richelieu in Charlevoix, Québec, where Canada plans to showcase its domestic and international priorities. CCCJ initiatives in Japan are in alignment with these objectives, which include investing in growth that works for everyone; preparing for jobs of the future; advancing gender equality and women’s empowerment; working together on climate change, oceans and clean energy; and build­ing a more peaceful and secure world.

The progress of the CCCJ’s Global Diversity Management (GDM) Committee in 2017 was a great step forward in our efforts to contribute to the ongoing diversity dialogue and bring about change. In Japan, the focus remains on empowering women and navigating diversity in the workplace.

Although there is still more to be done in Canada, we are fittingly respected internationally for our diversity and inclusion. Canada thus has a lot to contribute to Japan’s goals, and we at the CCCJ are pleased to help facilitate that. This year, there will be more events in the GDM speaker series through which, together with other developments, we hope to make further headway for diversity in Japan.

We share the Canadian value of equality, diversity and inclusion, and intend to use this to further expand our membership and committee activities. We aim to be role models in Japan for those seeking to make significant strides towards a society that embodies principles of equality.

Opportune times

Japan and Canada are celebrating 90 years of diplomatic relations in 2018 and 2019, and we are looking to strengthen the bonds that have been fostered for nearly one century. The logo chosen by the Embassy of Japan in Canada to mark the event was designed by Haruo Hamaguchi. It is a beautiful representation of the two countries, incorporating the Canadian and Japanese flags, along with Mt. Fuji and the Canadian Rockies.

It is with great confidence that I can say Canada–Japan relations will be enriched with the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, and the build-up to this major international sporting event will present business opportunities for companies both in Japan and Canada.

As many of you know, the Tohoku Youth Project has been one of the corporate social responsibility (CSR) focuses at the chamber over the past year. We have experienced huge support for the project and would like to see this momentum carry on to additional CSR projects, collaborations and volunteering in a wider variety of ways.

Lastly, we have two pieces of important news. Our office has relocated to the Shimbashi district, where our partner, Space Design Inc., has provided a new, modern office. Please visit us when you have the time. It is by connecting with you, our members and getting to know your needs that we can all move forward.

We would also like to thank Jody Pang, who has been key to the success of our events and a huge support in the behind-the-scenes maintenance of the CCCJ. She has done much more than her titled office manager responsibilities since starting her role and we greatly appreciate all her hard work and dedication. We are grateful and would like to wish her the best in her future endeavours.

Forward thinking

The chamber will continue developing initiatives that we’ve already launched, and set in motion new ones to support Canadian priorities that have been set for the G7 summit this year. I’m excited to see what 2018 will bring, and know that we can reach our Canada–Japan objectives by working together.

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