In the late 1980’s, Japan was Canada’s second largest trading partner and a major foreign investor in our country, was perceived as being one of the strongest and smartest industrial nations in the world, and was the world’s largest exporter of capital. The strengthening of commercial links between Canada and Japan was clearly a matter of considerable importance to Canada and its business, professional and academic communities.
Senior members of those communities concluded that there was a need to establish in Canada a permanent national organization which would enable senior representatives of Canadian companies, firms and academia to meet their counterparts on the Japanese side on a continuing basis to discuss matters of mutual interest. There followed various meetings and background papers, a study into all aspects of the matter and finally the founding of The Japan Society in October 1989.
The Society is a not-for-profit association which is managed by a small, cohesive, focussed Board of Directors and management team. The President and Chief Executive Officer oversees the day to day administration and activities of the Society. The Board of Directors is responsible for planning and implementing programmes, activities, events and initiatives that will be of benefit to the Society. In that regard, the Society provides members with opportunities:
The types of programmes offered by the Society include: luncheon and dinner meetings with knowledgeable Canadian and Japanese business persons, academics and senior government representatives; seminars and conferences dealing with issues and initiatives of particular importance to members of the Society; orientations to introduce Japanese business customs and practices to Canadian business executives; and presentations of art exhibitions, films and various performing arts of Japan in Canada.
The founders of the Society, both Canadian and Japanese, believed that as Canada and Japan became more interdependent and their relationship became more complex, the Society would assume an increasingly important role in meeting the challenges which lay ahead and in promoting and enhancing understanding between our two nations. As we anticipate our twentieth anniversary of operations, our objective is to continue to fulfill that mandate for the benefit of both Canada and Japan.