2023 New Year Message from H.E. Ambassador Yamanouchi Kanji

 A Happy New Year!
 I would like to extend my best wishes for a prosperous and healthy new year to everyone.
 The year 2022 witnessed the Japanese and Canadian national teams fight well in the World Cup and saw signs of the end of the COVID-19 pandemic, but at the same time, the invasion of Ukraine by Russia was a challenge to international order, posing a serious threat to international peace and security. Japan and the Indo-Pacific region face further geopolitical challenges, such as unilateral attempts to change the status quo in the East and South China Seas with force, and North Korea's unprecedented frequency of missile tests. Furthermore, the devastating impact of global warming and infectious diseases on people's lives continues to warn of the urgent need to address global issues.
 Amidst this challenging global environment, the year 2022 marked a ‘new chapter’ in Japan-Canada relations. In particular, it is noteworthy that Canada, which has maintained strong ties, both historical and geographical, with Europe and the Atlantic since its founding, has now clearly expressed its commitment to the Indo-Pacific region, calling itself a Pacific nation and turning its attention toward Asia.
 In October last year, the Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly made her first visit to Japan, where she and the Japanese Foreign Affairs Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi announced the "Japan-Canada Action Plan for contributing to a free and open Indo-Pacific region." In late November, Minister Joly, together with International Trade Minister Mary Ng, International Development Minister Harjit Sajjan, and Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino, held a press conference to announce Canada's "Indo-Pacific Strategy.” This decision made by Canada, who has not produced a foreign policy paper for a while, to formulate a basic strategy for its future foreign and security policies in a cross-sectoral manner under the Indo-Pacific and in view of the current geopolitical situation, is of great significance.
 In the area of business between Japan and Canada, the first face-to-face joint meeting of the Japan-Canada Chambers Council since the beginning of the pandemic took place in September 2022. The Canadian Innovation, Science and Industry Minister François-Philippe Champagne visited Japan on three occasions, and in December 2022, Minister Ng participated in Canada’s women-only trade mission to Japan and actively met with business leaders and others in the business and industrial sectors. In addition to traditional sectors such as agriculture and energy, Japan-Canada business is now making significant progress in both directions, with a view to accelerating the transition to a decarbonized society. We hope to see future investment from Japan to Canada in next-generation energy such as LNG, hydrogen and ammonia, critical minerals, and high-tech such as AI and quantum technologies. Moreover, Japanese food is now a part of Canada's culinary culture, and we are proud to see the prominent presence of Japanese restaurants in the Michelin Guide in Toronto and Vancouver.
 The year 2023 marks the 95th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Japan and Canada, with the opening of the legation of Japan in Ottawa. We will make further efforts this year to deepen strategic cooperation with Canada, which has announced its Indo-Pacific Strategy, in various fields and at various levels.
 As the chair of the G7, Japan will host the G7 Hiroshima Summit in May, and G7 ministerial meetings will be held throughout the year across Japan. I look forward to working closely with Canada to ensure that the discussions at the G7 meeting are substantive in terms of how to confront and find solutions to the various issues we face today, as mentioned at the beginning of this message.
 Public health restrictions due to COVID-19 have been lifted, and opportunities to reinvigorate economic and social activities are opening up. We will also be able to reaffirm the importance and warmth of direct interactions. We hope to see increase in the number of people travelling between Japan and Canada for tourism and business purposes. In this post-pandemic area, the Embassy and Consulate-Generals of Japan will do our utmost to ensure that you can live and work in Canada with peace of mind.
 I look forward to working with you this year.
New Year's Day, 2023