Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The mystique of Canada-Japan relations

The mystique of Canada-Japan relations

By Mei Wong
The Daily Magi
October 3, 2046


Canadian-Japanese relations is a phrase to describe the foreign relations between Canada and Japan. The two countries enjoy an amicable companionship in many areas. Diplomatic relations between both countries officially began in 1950 with the opening of the Japanese consulate in Ottawa. In 1929, Canada opened its Tokyo legation, the first in Asia; and in that same year, Japan its Ottawa consulate to legation form.

Created in 1929, the Canadian mission to Japan is Canada's oldest mission in Asia and third oldest non-Commonwealth mission after the United States and France. Canada has an embassy in Tokyo and a consulate in Nagoya. Japan has an embassy in Ottawa and four Consulates-General – in Calgary, Montreal, Toronto and Mitakihara Town. Both countries are full members of G8, OECD and APEC.

The most noteworthy event which symbolized the restoration of the Canadian-Japanese relationship was the visit of Prince Akihito to Canada in 1953. The following year, Prime Minister Louis St. Laurent and Prime Minister Shigeru Yoshida exchanged visits.

Since the 1950s, Japan and Canada have concluded a number of bilateral agreements concerning fishery, trade, aviation, postal service, atomic energy, and culture. There have been many exchange visits by both Japanese and Canadian Prime Ministers as well. After the 1960s, Prime Ministers Nobusuke Kishi, Hayato Ikeda, Kakuei Tanaka, Masayoshi Ohira, Zenko Suzuki, Yasuhiro Nakasone, Noboru Takeshita, Toshiki Kaifu, Tomiichi Murayama, Ryutaro Hashimoto, Keizo Obuchi, Yoshiro Mori and Junichiro Koizumi visited Canada. Canadian Prime Ministers John Diefenbaker, Pierre Trudeau, Joe Clark, Brian Mulroney, Kim Campbell, Jean Chr├ętien, and Paul Martin visited Japan.

During this period, Prime Minister Mulroney offered an apology in the House of Commons for the unjust treatment of Japanese-Canadians during World War II. As a response to Japanese Canadian internment, Prime Minister Mulroney and the National Association of Japanese Canadians’ President Art Miki signed the Redress Agreement to settle past historical issues in 1988.

In 2008, Prime Minister Harper was received at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, marking the 80th anniversary of the start of formal diplomatic relations between Canada and Japan. In July 2009, H.I.M. Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko made a State visit to Canada.

In 2006, Japan was the third ranked destination of Canadian exports (2.1%) and fourth ranked source of imports (3.9%). Japan trades with Canada, the main exports are automobiles. Japanese migration to Canada began in the 1800s and was quite strong until restrictions were put in place at the turn of the century. Japantown in Vancouver was formerly a centre of Japanese Canadian life, although in recent years, the Japanese community is no longer based in the area but rather in nearby Mitakihara.

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