Ambassador Ishikane’s Official Visit to the Province of British Columbia

H.E. Kimihiro Ishikane, Ambassador of Japan, and his spouse, Mrs. Kaoru Ishikane, paid an official visit to the province of British Columbia from February 10 to 14, 2019. B.C. is 950,000 square kilometers in area, making it about 2.5 times as big as Japan. As of 2017, the population has grown to 4.81 million people and there are more than 20,000 Japanese-Canadians as well as about 26,000 Japanese nationals living in B.C. Situated in western Canada and bordered by the Pacific Ocean, the province houses about 250 Japanese companies, many of which are based in the Vancouver, the largest city in the province. Vancouver especially has a long and deep relationship with Japan, with its Consulate-General as the oldest Japanese mission in Canada, opened in 1889.

 
On February 11, Ambassador Ishikane attended the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) seminar “Expanding Your Business Horizons”, organized by the Canadian government in Vancouver. In his remarks, Ambassador Ishikane emphasized the importance of the CPTPP and called for the  promotion of the mutual investment between Japan and Canada. The Hon. Jim Carr, Minister of International Trade Diversification, the Hon. François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, the Hon. Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard and H.E. Ian Burney, Ambassador of Canada to Japan, participated in this event, which was the first episode of a series of seminars that the Canadian government is organising in several cities to promote CPTPP. On the same day, Ambassador Ishikane met with the Hon. Bruce Ralston, B.C.’s Minister of Jobs, Trade and Technology, the members of the Canada-Japan Society of British Columbia and the members of the Japanese Business Association of Vancouver (Konwakai) and discussed the importance of the CPTPP and the current situation of Japan-Canada economic relationship, among other topics.

 
The province of British Columbia has long been a home to many Japanese Canadians, ever since the very first Japanese immigrant in Canada arrived in B.C. in 1877. In this regard, Ambassador Ishikane and Mrs. Ishikane visited on February 12 the Japanese Canadian War Memorial in Stanley Park as well as some other Japanese Canadian related establishments such as Tonari Gumi, the Nikkei National Museum and Cultural Centre and Nikkei Home.

 
On February 13 in Victoria, the Ambassador met with the Hon. Janet Austin, Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia, the Hon. Darryl Precas, Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia, the Hon. Donaldson, B.C.’s Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development and Mr. Dave Nikolejsin, Deputy Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources. During the meetings, they exchanged views on how to further strengthen cooperation between Japan and Canada/British Columbia on the occasion of the 90th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries, especially the promotion of business exchange with the CPTPP entering into force. After all these meetings, the Ambassador and Mrs. Ishikane visited the Royal British Columbia Museum with a guide from the protocol office of the B.C. government.

 
 
Remarks by Ambassador Ishikane at the CPTPP seminar
 
With participants of the CPTPP seminar
 
With the Hon. Bruce Ralston, B.C’s Minister of Jobs, Trade and Technology
 
With  the members of the Canada-Japan Society of British Columbia
 
In front of the Japanese Canadian War
Memorial in Stanley Park
 
Visit of Nikkei Centre
 
With the Hon. Janet Austin, Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia (third from right)
 
With the Hon. Darryl Precas, Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia
 
 
With Mr. Byng, the Honorary Consul General of Japan in Victoria