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Message on Canada Day

I am delighted to convey my best wishes to your readers on this, the 152nd anniversary of Canada’s Confederation. 

This has been a banner year in Canada-Japan relations -- and one steeped in symbolism, as we mark the 90th anniversary of Canada’s diplomatic presence in this country, and Japan celebrates the dawn of its new “Reiwa” Imperial era. 

In late April, we were honoured to welcome Prime Minister Abe to Canada for the second time in as many years.  His visit laid the foundation for closer ties and stronger cooperation on a range of global and regional issues.  At a time when our shared values and the global institutions they underpin are under such great stress, it is more important than ever for our two countries to continue to work together to shore up the rules-based international order.  Prime Minister Trudeau’s active participation in the Osaka G20 Leaders’ Summit just days ago was a clear illustration of how our two countries can work together toward that shared goal.

The rich people-to-people ties between our two countries continue to flourish.  In the area of sports, we eagerly anticipate Canada’s participation both in the Rugby World Cup this fall and in the Olympic and Paralympic Games here next summer.  Basketball enthusiasts should take note that the Toronto Raptors – now the reigning NBA champions! – will play two pre-season games at the Saitama Super Arena in October, so mark your calendars.  Meanwhile, Canadian cultural expressions of all types continue to attract large followings in Japan, from our iconic Cirque du Soleil performers, classical and jazz artists, to major pop stars like Shawn Mendes and Carly Rae Jepson – both of whom will visit Japan this fall.

Commercial ties also reached new heights during the past year, driven by our landmark new trade agreement -- the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans Pacific Partnership.  This Agreement, which reflects the bold leadership of Prime Minister Abe, is already generating significant benefits for our businesses and consumers alike.   Moreover, Canada’s high-skilled labour force, world-class technology and dynamic innovation ecosystem are attracting important new Japanese investments, notably in the burgeoning field of artificial intelligence.

This year also marks a new chapter in Canada’s energy partnership with Japan, with the first shipment of Canadian LPG having arrived in May.  Large volumes of Canadian LNG will start flowing to Japan as early as 2024, via a massive new export facility now under construction in British Columbia.   Japanese companies are playing a major role in these projects, which will ensure our place as a major, stable and competitive supplier of energy resources to Japan for decades to come. 

Canada is also stepping up its contribution to the stability and security of this region, highlighted during the recent visit of Canada’s Minister of National Defence.  Twice last year, our military forces participated, alongside Japan and other partners, in surveillance efforts targeting North Korea’s attempts to evade UN sanctions through ship-to-ship transfers at sea.  In April, Canada announced the continuation of such key deployments over the next two years.  

In short, as we look back on 90 years of diplomatic engagement, Canada-Japan relations have become comprehensive in scope, and reached an advanced level of maturity, sophistication and mutual benefit. 

It is an honour for me to represent Canada in this remarkable country, and I look forward to another exciting year ahead.

Happy Canada Day!

Ian Burney
Ambassador of Canada to Japan


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