Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne discussed her upcoming trade mission to Japan and South Korea in a roundtable discussion with business, trade and cultural leaders in the Japanese Canadian community at the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre on Nov. 19.
Wynne spoke to a room of twenty business and community leaders, including Toshiaki Maruoka, president and CEO of Mitsui Canada, Larry Hutchinson, President and CEO of Toyota Canada, Sid Ikeda, community relations advisor for the JCCC among many others.
The upcoming trip to Japan is meant to encourage investment in Ontario by strengthen ties that already exist and visiting business that have already been established, said Wynne. She said the visit would express that Ontario is looking for global relations, and opened trade relations with innovative and intelligent businesses and individuals, especially considering the changes that could be coming to the United States.
The group discussed the barriers for growing trade that Ontario companies face in Japan and vice versa, how to improve bilateral trade and develop closer business and cultural ties between Japan and Canada.
The group stressed to Wynne the importance of omotenashi, or Japanese hospitality and how Japanese service differs compared to its North American counterpart. The roundtable discussed how Japanese businesses value service that is polite and sincere, as if ‘welcoming into your spirit.’ This difference in service in North America can be a culture shock for Japanese businesses coming over to Canada.
Also discussed in the meeting was Ontario’s decision to dissolve the Agent General in Japan in the 90s, Ontario’s infrastructure that rises the cost of doing business in the province and how to attract international students to Ontario versus other provinces.
Premier Wynne concluded the discussion by thanking those present and expressing her excitement to visit Japan because of her close ties to the Japanese Canadian community in Ontario. Wynne formally announced her bid to replace Dalton McGuinty as Ontario Premier at the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre in 2012, when she was MPP for Don Valley West.