Greetings from Ambassador-designate YAMANOUCHI Kanji

It is my great honour and privilege to be appointed as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Canada on March 15, 2022. I arrived in Canada on May 3.
As the 31st Ambassador to Canada, counting from the Minister Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, TOKUGAWA Iemasa, first head of the Japanese diplomatic mission to Canada, I intend to make every effort for the further development of Japan-Canada relations in all aspects, including diplomacy, security, business, economy and cultural exchanges, based on the trust and friendship between Japan and Canada that my predecessors have continuously built.
I flew into Ottawa via Chicago, and as I watched the night view of Ottawa from the plane, I reminisced about my encounters with Canada during my diplomatic career thus far.
The most memorable event was the official visit to Canada of Their Majesties Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko in July 2009. I was in charge of the First North America Division and flew to Canada several times during the six-month preparation period. As an escort, I accompanied Their Majesties throughout the 14-day visit. In addition to the official welcome ceremony in the capital and a meeting with the Governor-General, the program included visits to Gatineau, Toronto, Vancouver and Victoria. Their Majesties interacted with the Japanese-Canadian community, Canadian dignitaries and Canadian citizens in various locations across Canada. I felt that the Canada-Japan relationship is exceedingly friendly and strong.
Moreover, I remember vividly the G8 Muskoka Summit and the G20 Toronto Summit in June 2010. I was amazed by the enthusiasm of the Government of Canada to host back to back the two most important international conferences in the modern international community. Back in 1995, I was also present at the G7 Halifax Summit, which was a good opportunity to familiarize myself with Canadian history.
Looking back, the TPP negotiations during my tenure as the Director-General of the Economic Affairs Bureau were also very memorable. In January 2017, the Trump administration withdrew from the TPP. Negotiations continued among the 11 remaining countries, including Japan, Canada, and Australia, to finalize the agreement. The Canadian side brought up new issues at the final stage, challenging the negotiations before concluding. It eventually came into effect as the TPP11 Agreement, and the incident made a strong impression of Canada’s unique presence in the international arena.
National interests of each country often differ on the international level. Although advancing cooperation may sometimes be far from simple, Japan and Canada are Indo-Pacific countries that share universal values such as freedom, democracy and the rule of law. In May 2021, the foreign ministers of the two countries announced six priority areas of cooperation toward the realization of a "Free and Open Indo-Pacific," which is a vision jointly upheld by Japan and Canada. These priority areas, which also includes the above-mentioned TPP11 Agreement, consist of (1) the rule of law; (2) peacekeeping operations, peacebuilding, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief; (3) health security and responding to COVID-19; (4) energy security; (5) free trade promotion and trade agreement implementation; and (6) environment and climate change. At a summit talk in February 2022, Prime Ministers Kishida and Trudeau affirmed the strategic partnership between Japan and Canada, including the vision of “Free and Open Indo-Pacific”. Based on these, I would like to advance concrete cooperation in various fields to further develop our bilateral relationship.
Prior to my departure from Tokyo for Ottawa, I had the opportunity to meet and talk with people from various fields involved in Japan-Canada relations. Every conversation was thought-provoking and displayed the depth and potential of the Japan-Canada relationship. The numerous themes of discussion on the ties between our two countries include: exchanges with Prince Edward Island relating to "Anne of Green Gables”; history of persecuted Jews in Europe who fled to North America via Japan using visas issued by SUGIHARA Chiune; security cooperation in light of the situation in Ukraine; and major LNG, hydrogen and ammonia projects involving Japanese companies. I also visited Onagawa Town in Miyagi Prefecture and laid wreaths at the Captain Hampton Gray Memorial and the Onagawa Bay War Memorial. Listening to the stories of the people I met, I was moved by the depth of friendship between Japan and Canada on the local community level. It reminded me that the heart and friendship of each individual are the foundation of relations between countries.
In addition to strengthening the cordial relationship between Japan and Canada in the political, security, and business fields, I would explore every opportunity to discover the attractiveness of each other on cultural, academic, and artistic fields, with the objective of deepening our exchanges on all - national, local and individual - levels.
As I have just taken office, various procedures, including the presentation of my credentials, are still awaiting. Nevertheless, I have taken this opportunity to greet you on my arrival in Canada and to share my own thoughts on the development of Japan-Canada relations.
I fully commit myself to further developing the positive bilateral relations between our countries and look forward to working with you.