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Canada-Japan Relations

Japan: Fact SheetJapan* (pdf version, 68 KB)

Canada-Japan relations are underpinned by political, economic and cultural ties, which are bolstered by common values and mutual positive perceptions.

Canada’s partner in the Pacific

Canada and Japan are partners in numerous international groups and organizations, including the G7, G20, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, Asian Development Bank, International Monetary Fund, Association of Southeast Asian Nations and Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Both Canada and Japan are strongly committed to ensuring continued economic vitality, cooperative political relations and development in the Asia-Pacific region.

Regular exchanges between Canadian and Japanese parliamentarians are another important pillar of the Canada-Japan relationship. The Canada-Japan Inter-Parliamentary Group, established by Parliament in 1989, and its Japanese counterpart, the Japan-Canada Diet Friendship League, have held regular consultations since 1989, alternating the location of the meetings between the two countries. The latest session was held in Tokyo in January 2017 and included discussions of trade policy and regional security, as well as energy issues.

Trade and economic relations between Canada and Japan have been steadily expanding. With a gross domestic product of $6.5 trillion in 2016, Japan is the world’s third-largest national economy, one of Canada’s most important economic and commercial partners and Canada’s largest source of bilateral foreign direct investment (FDI) in Asia. FDI stock from Japan into Canada was valued at $29.6 billion in 2017, coming from approximately 450 Japanese subsidiaries and affiliate companies operating in Canada and employing tens of thousands of Canadians.

Canadian investment in Japan is significant and diverse with over 100 companies that have a permanent Japanese presence, primarily in the automotive, information and communications technologies, financial services and forestry sectors. The stock of Canadian direct investment in Japan in 2017 stood at $4.7 billion. Japan is also Canada’s fourth-largest partner in two-way merchandise trade (second in Asia after China) and eighth in services trade.

Canada’s exports of goods to Japan totalled $11.8 billion in 2017, while imports from Japan were $17.5 billion. Canola, coal, copper ores, pork, lumber and wheat were Canada’s largest exports to Japan, while autos, auto parts, industrial machinery, and information and communications technologies were Canada’s largest imports from Japan in 2017.

Canada is committed to pursuing new opportunities to deepen trade and economic cooperation with Japan. On January 23, 2018, Canada and Japan, along with nine other parties, concluded discussions for the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). As Canada will benefit from preferential access to the other 10 CPTPP countries, it is expected that this agreement will boost Canada’s GDP by $4.2 billion. In addition to discussions about free trade, Canadian and Japanese senior officials meet for regular consultations in the context of the Joint Economic Committee.

Canada and Japan have a long history of diplomatic relations dating back to 1928 when Japan established a diplomatic mission in Ottawa. Canada’s own diplomatic mission to Japan was established in Tokyo on May 21, 1929, formally completing the process of establishing full bilateral diplomatic relations between the two countries. Canada and Japan have long shared strong political ties, but in recent years, these relations have spread into new areas and become more substantive. One important area of growth is peace and security cooperation. On April 21, 2018, Canada and Japan signed the Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement, which will facilitate cooperation between Canadian and Japanese forces.

The 2010 Canada-Japan Joint Declaration on Political, Peace and Security Cooperation is the basis for deepening the partnership between Canada and Japan on regional and global security issues. The declaration’s centrepiece is the creation of the Political, Peace and Security Subcabinet “2+2” Dialogue, which commits Canada and Japan to undertake regular bilateral meetings between deputy minister-level officials responsible for foreign affairs and defence. The most recent meeting took place in Tokyo in April 2016. Canada hosted the 15th Canada-Japan Symposium on Peace and Security Cooperation, on December 6 and 7, 2017, which brought academics and policy-makers from both countries together to discuss important regional security and bilateral cooperation topics. The symposium was followed by political-military and military-military talks between the two countries’ senior bureaucrats and military officials.

Canada and Japan enjoy rich cultural and people-to-people linkages. There are over 120,000 people of Japanese origin residing in Canada. Approximately 300,000 Japanese and Canadians travel to each other’s country annually. Japanese manga and anime have many fans in Canada, and Canadian musicians of all genres have an active following in Japan, due in part to the legacies of Oscar Peterson, Glenn Gould and other international artists, such as Shawn Mendes, Justin Bieber, Ron Sexsmith, Matt Dusk and Monkey Majik. There are 24 friendship associations and 73 sister city/sister province relationships between Japanese and Canadian communities.

In education, Canada remains a popular destination for Japanese students interested in studying abroad at all levels, with over 20,000 language students from Japan enrolled in Canadian institutions in 2016. In addition, at any one time, some 500 Canadians participate in the Japan Exchange and Teaching Programme, teaching English in schools across Japan or working with local governments. Canadians are long-standing supporters of this program, with approximately 9,000 alumni. Our International Experience Canada (Working Holiday) programs are also very popular, allowing thousands of Japanese and Canadian youths to enjoy short-term travel and work opportunities in each other’s country.

Academic relations: University and research links and exchanges

Canada is committed to participation in international study and research partnerships that build understanding among peoples, develop global citizens and leaders, and contribute to the development of nations.

Global Affairs Canada is responsible for the Government of Canada’s participation in major International Scholarship Programs. The department provides support to international scholars in Canada, which is often reciprocated by foreign governments that support Canadian scholars in their countries.

The Academic Relations team of the Canadian embassy in Tokyo also provides support for activities that further the knowledge and understanding of Canada in Japan.

Japan is a key partner with Canada in the academic world and shares diverse links and strengths in science and innovation. There are currently more than 240 active international exchange agreements in place between Canadian and Japanese universities, spanning all faculties and regions. Through this academic relationship, each country benefits through access to the centres of innovation and creativity found at Canadian institutions, more collaboration among top-level researchers and an engaged international student body committed to furthering their education in each other’s country.

International scholarships

Academic networks and organizations

Useful links


Public Affairs (Academic Relations)
Embassy of Canada


May 2018

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