Distinguished Fellow, Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada
Vice-Chair of the Canadian National Committe for Pacific Economic Cooperation (CANCPEC)
Canada-Japan relations are at a low ebb politically and need to be rescued by urgent and decisive action.
One of our largest trading relationships has been put at risk by the perceived snub offered to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Vietnam in November when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau missed a scheduled press conference intended to announce that Canada, Japan and nine other Trans-Pacific Partnership countries had reached agreement in principle on a revised trade pact. Worse still, it was Canada’s last-minute case of cold feet that almost sank the agreement.
It is time for a reset to restore this important bilateral relationship. The best way to do this is to double down now to resolve the outstanding differences between Japan and Canada that are hindering conclusion of what has been relabelled the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership.