Links Through
Learning

Jim Zhang
Jim Zhang, Executive Director, Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Japan

Happy summer holidays to our members! I hope you have been able to take a break from your normal busy days. It is another hot one in Japan, and we hope our momentum at the Chamber will continue to rival the scorching heat of Japan’s summer.

On June 5, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Japan (CCCJ) welcomed the Mayor of Montréal Valérie Plante and a strong delegation from her municipality. The visit, organized in collaboration with the Montréal Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and the General Delegation of Québec to Tokyo, was arranged to celebrate the inaugural direct flight between Tokyo and Montréal by CCCJ Corporate Sustaining Member Air Canada. We are extremely excited to have an increased exchange at business, cultural, and personal levels between the two cities.

Soon after, the CCCJ hosted the annual Joint Chamber Summer Cocktail at the Roppongi Hills Club. This year we col­lab­­­orat­­ed with 15 foreign chambers to welcome 380 guests. One of the largest networking events in the foreign business community, once again this event was extremely popular.

Educational Partnership

In this summer issue of the magazine, we focus on the grassroots connections between Canada and Japan. A large part of this network is the ever-growing, strong education partnership between Canada and Japan.

According to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada’s statistics, 7,950 Japanese students studied in Canada in 2017. The steady increase in numbers we have seen over the years is partially due to the fact that Japanese nationals who study in Canada for fewer than six months are exempt from having to obtain study permits.
In 2016, Japan was the top country for language studies, according to Languages Canada, contributing C$12.8–15.5 billion to economic activities in the country. But education is not only about personal improvement or cultural exchange. It is now a significant economic industry that has collateral benefits for society and the bilateral relationship.

Canada and Japan make great natural partners for students, and they are places where people from both sides of the Pacific can gain valuable experience. In addition, increasing academic partnerships between institutions have increased R&D opportunities across the board. We are extremely happy to see this development and hope that more students study abroad and gain this valuable experience.

Whether they are in Canada or Japan, or any other country for that matter, it is younger people who will inevitably drive the economy of their respective countries. It is extremely important to create a generation of open, internationally minded youth who can contribute to the prosperity and friendly relationship between Canada and Japan, and to the businesses that operate in both countries.

JET Set

Another program that is a significant player in the field of education is the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Programme. Currently hundreds of young Canadians are here in Japan offering their skills to teach not only the English language, but Canadian culture to Japanese youth across the country. Through this cultural exchange, we have seen successful JET alumni become significant players in the bilateral relationship, and more Japanese students becoming interested in Canada and its culture.

This is indeed working, from a grassroots level, to bring two very different cultures closer and closer, and creating a platform of growth for younger people. Canada is now the second-largest participating country in the JET Programme.

For those wanting more information regarding Canada’s education efforts in Japan, make sure to visit the EduCanada Fair at the Embassy of Canada to Japan on November 2 and 3. One of the largest educational events of the year, it attracts about 2,000 visitors each year, and more than 80 institutions from Canada. The professionals at the fair will be ready to answer questions.

With that, please enjoy your summer. We look forward to seeing you in the fall and, we hope, at this year’s annual Maple Leaf Gala on November 2.

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