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Canada Day Message 2020

Canadians around the world today celebrate the 153rd anniversary of our confederation.  

Our National Day this year occurs during a period of tremendous global turbulence. Countries everywhere are struggling to contain a pandemic that has already taken a devastating human and economic toll. It is also a time of heightened global tensions, threats to our climate, and – more recently -- public protests against racial injustice. Against this sobering backdrop, however, it has been inspiring to see both the extraordinary courage of healthcare and other essential workers battling COVID-19 on the front lines, and the seriousness with which societies all over the world are now confronting longstanding and difficult issues relating to diversity, inclusion and social justice.

In such uncertain times, the close, steady partnership that Canada and Japan have forged over the years is a source of reassurance. Our ties are rooted in shared values -- respect for human rights, democracy, rule of law, open markets and a clean environment -- and an abiding commitment to the global institutions these values underpin. These are all now under great strain, however, making it more important than ever for us to work together with other like-minded partners – in the G7, G20, WHO and other critical bodies -- to shore up the rules-based international order and tackle common challenges like the current health crisis.

In parallel, our two countries are working to advance a shared vision for a free and open Indo Pacific, and Canada is strengthening its commitment to regional security. In close cooperation with Japan and other partners, we have stepped up military deployments to help enforce UN sanctions against the DPRK. As well, through joint exercises and personnel exchanges, our respective armed forces are delivering on the ambitious goals outlined in the first-ever Canada-Japan Joint Ministerial Statement on Defence Cooperation issued in June 2019.

Bilateral commercial ties are firing on all cylinders, and taking on added importance as we respond to the economic fallout from COVID-19. The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership underscores our shared commitment to rules-based trade, as do our joint efforts to reform the WTO, and to preserve open supply chains for medical, agricultural and other essential goods and services. Canada has long been a key source of many critical supplies for the Japanese economy, and our trade this year has been growing notwithstanding the challenging global environment. Innovation partnerships are also increasingly important, and show great promise given synergies between our R&D ecosystems, and complementary strengths in areas like AI, IT, quantum computing and clean energy.

Moreover, our rich people-to-people connections continue to flourish, highlighted by the cross-Canada visit that Her Imperial Highness Princess Takamado honoured us with last summer. In sport, our national men’s team was welcomed warmly during Rugby World Cup, and our Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls who visited Japan for training are looking forward to returning in summer 2021. In the arts, numerous Canadian performers have established loyal followings in Japan, and will be keen to reconnect with local audiences. Likewise, tourism and educational exchanges are sure to rebound as travel restrictions lift.

Our bilateral relations rest on a solid foundation and are sure to thrive in the years to come. The most pressing issues facing us are global in nature, however, requiring multilateral solutions. Canada and Japan are well-positioned to play an indispensable role in this regard, and I am confident we will step up together to meet these challenges.

Happy Canada Day!

Ian Burney
Ambassador of Canada to Japan

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Date Modified:
2020-06-30