Spring Forward

Spring is the season of new beginnings. As I write this, the glorious embo-di-ment of renewal in Japan — the sublime, yet fleeting cherry blossom season — is in full swing, and shortly after you read this issue, a new Japanese Imperial era, Reiwa (令和), will start.

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

It’s also a time for renewal at the chamber, as we are soon to be welcoming our new executive director, Matthew Ketchum. I’d like to thank Jim Zhang on behalf of everyone at the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Japan (CCCJ) for his hard work and dedication to the chamber over the past three and a half years. We wish him all the best in his next endeavours and look forward to welcoming him back as a member. Speaking personally, it has been a real pleasure and an honour to work closely with him.

Celebrating Connections

It certainly feels like springtime for Canada–Japan relations as well. This year marks the 90th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic relations, and we are seeing renewed excitement and vigour from both sides at levels we haven’t seen for years.

This issue is packed with stories that high-light some of that excitement. We cover the very successful Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada’s First Women-only Business Mission to Japan, which took place at the beginning of April. You can also read about some of the members of the annual mission of Canadian food companies that exhibited at Foodex, Asia’s largest trade show for the food and beverage industry.

Education, for example, provides great opportunities for our two nations to learn more about each other. As a group of students from Acadia University in Nova Scotia found out while on a visit to Japan that was part of a business course they were taking. Although this country has a unique business environment, they learned, Japanese and Canadians have many characteristics in common.

Then, from March 3 to 10, CCCJ members and friends hosted 14 high school students from Takata Senior High School in Rikuzentakata, Iwate Prefecture. They interned at a number of companies, marking the seventh consecutive year of the Tohoku Youth Project.

Finally, in a delicious way to celebrate Japanese culture, on March 22, the CCCJ and several other chambers held a Sake Night that featured 19 amazing sake brewers from across Japan. Read about it and see some photos from this unforgettable night.

It certainly feels like springtime for Canada–Japan relations … and we are seeing renewed excitement and vigour from both sides at levels we haven’t seen for years.

Get Involved

Keep an eye on our weekly newsletter for some great speakers and events coming up, including a closer look at the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership and the opportunities it brings for Canada and Japan.

As Japan’s foremost business community of Canada–Japan stakeholders, the chamber now is more important than ever. Just by being a CCCJ member you are supporting this unique community of stakeholders, and the important work it does. Our membership covers 35 business sectors, and together we have a knack for finding those issues we can weigh in on and influence as only we can.

If you haven’t already, why not take a closer look at the inner workings of the chamber by joining our monthly Hackathon and New Member Orientation. Find out who’s who and who’s new. You might be surprised at how easy it is to get involved — not to mention how rewarding and how much fun it can be!

In addition, we are about to have our annual elections at the chamber. More than half of the board members will be up for election, ahead of the Annual General Meeting on June 12. Make sure to mark the date on your calendar.

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