Minister Fast Highlights Commercial Successes in Japan 

Recent commercial signings point to deepening trade ties, says International Trade Minister

March 26, 2012 - The Honourable Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, today hailed the recent conclusion of a number of commercial agreements as proof of the ever-growing commercial ties between Canada and Japan. Minister Fast made the announcement while accompanying Prime Minister Stephen Harper on his visit to Japan from March 25 to 26.

“Canada has strong and growing ties in the Asia-Pacific,” said Minister Fast. “Deepening Canada’s trade and investment ties with large, dynamic economies like Japan is a key part of our plan to create jobs, growth and prosperity for Canadian workers, businesses and families.”

In Tokyo, Minister Fast witnessed a commercial agreement whereby Canadian Solar Japan K.K. will build a two-megawatt solar plant in central Japan. The company will be the first foreign manufacturer to build and operate a solar plant of this size in Japan. Minister Fast also welcomed the announcement by city of Québec-based Medicago Inc. of a $10-million investment by Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma Corporation in Medicago to support a strategic alliance between the two companies.

The Minister also welcomed four additional announcements made during the Prime Minister’s visit:

  • a contract between Vancouver-Island-based Natural Glacial Waters Incorporated and Aeon Co. Ltd. to supply Aeon, Japan’s largest supermarket chain, with bottled water;
  • an announcement by Weyerhaeuser Company that its mill in Saskatchewan will start to produce panels certified to Japanese agricultural standards for export to Japan, which is expected to increase the demand for Canadian wood products;
  • Vancouver-based Canadian venture capital firm Pangaea Ventures has partnered with six Japanese firms to participate in its third venture fund; and
  • the opening of a sales and support office in Tokyo by Montréal-based Audiokinetic Inc. to service the Japanese market. The new office, expected to be opened by fall 2012, will focus on helping Japanese interactive media and gaming companies revolutionize their approach to audio production.

In addition, more than 18 other commercial announcements have been made recently, further signalling the robustness of the Canada-Japan relationship.

“I am pleased to be back in Japan to welcome the commercial deals that have happened since my visit last November,” said Minister Fast. “With yesterday’s announcement of the launch of Canada-Japan free trade negotiations, I expect our mutually beneficial trade and investment ties will only intensify. The deepened trade and investment ties between our two countries will benefit Canadians and Japanese alike.”

The Minister also highlighted the role that the Canadian Trade Commissioner Service played in facilitating many of the commercial agreements and encouraged Canadian businesses to take advantage of the numerous services offered by the Government of Canada.

For more information on the Prime Minister’s visit to Japan, see Ministerial Visit to Asia.

Minister Fast Highlights Major Commercial Deal in Japan.
Left to right: The Honourable Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, Yukon Kaname, Vice President of Canadian Solar Japan K.K., and Ryoji Abe, Director and Vice President of Hakuto Co., Ltd.

Download a high resolution version of this photo

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A backgrounder on the commercial agreements follows.

For further information, media representatives may contact:

Rudy Husny
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Ed Fast
Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway
613-992-7332

Trade Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
613-996-2000
Follow us on Twitter: @Canada_Trade 

Backgrounder - Commercial Agreements

The following commercial agreement was witnessed by the Honourable Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, during his visit to Japan.

  • Canadian Solar Japan K.K., a subsidiary of Ontario-based Canadian Solar Inc., announced its plan to build a mega-sized solar plant in Mie prefecture. This will be the first such plant built and operated by a foreign manufacturer in Japan. The Japanese solar industry is expected to experience rapid expansion in 2012 as Japan looks for alternatives to nuclear power.

The following agreements were signed or announced during Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s visit to Japan:

  • Vancouver-Island-based Natural Glacial Waters Incorporated and Aeon Co. Ltd. announced a contract under which Natural Glacial Waters will supply Aeon, Japan’s largest supermarket chain, with bottled water.
  • Weyerhaeuser Company announced in April 2011 that its mill in Saskatchewan will start to produce panels certified to Japanese agricultural standards for export to Japan.
  • In breaking news, Canadian venture capital firm Pangaea Ventures Ltd. has announced that it is partnering with six Japanese firms to participate in its third venture fund. Pangaea has found considerable appetite for its latest fund in Japan among some of the world’s leading manufacturers: Asahi Glass Co., Ltd., Asahi Kasei Co., JSR Corporation, Ltd., Murata Manufacturing Co., Ltd., Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings Corporation and Nitto Denko Corporation. Pangaea Ventures is based in Vancouver and specializes in early- and seed-stage investments in the areas of clean technology and advanced materials.
  • Montréal-based Audiokinetic Inc. announced plans to open a sales and support office in Tokyo to service the Japanese market. The new office, expected to be opened by fall 2012, will focus on helping Japanese interactive media and gaming companies revolutionize their approach to audio production.
  • Medicago Inc., a biopharmaceutical company focused on developing highly effective and competitive vaccines based on proprietary manufacturing technologies, announced that Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma Corporation has made a private-equity investment of $10 million in Medicago to support their strategic alliance. Under the alliance, the two companies will develop and commercialize at least three new vaccines. 

Minister Fast also welcomed a number of recent announcements demonstrating the growing commercial ties between Japan and Canada, including:

  • CAE and joint-venture partner Mitsui are opening a training centre in Japan in 2014 for the new Mitsubishi Regional Jet. CAE is currently developing the world’s first two full-flight simulators for this next-generation aircraft. CAE also sold an A380 full-flight simulator to Skymark Airlines in June 2011, which is currently being built.
  • The Montréal-based firm m0851 recently opened a store in the Ginza district of Tokyo and will open a second store in Osaka in April 2012.
  • Sumitomo Precision Products Co., Ltd. announced plans to set up a wholly owned subsidiary in Mississauga, Ontario, to expand its business in commercial aircraft landing gear and other related products in North America. The investment is expected to initially create 50 jobs and requires $75 million of capital investment.
  • DeNA Co., Ltd. announced the establishment of DeNA Studios Canada Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary in Vancouver, to develop mobile social games for DeNA’s Mobage platform. DeNA Studios Canada’s long-term plan will also include design, development and operational support for other DeNA Group companies.
  • Square Enix Holdings Co., Ltd. will create 250 new jobs in Canada by expanding its existing Eidos-Montréal studio and creating a second studio, Square Enix Montréal. Game creators there will be charged with building AAA games for tomorrow’s audiences.
  • Rakuten, Inc. has acquired Kobo Inc. of Toronto for US$315 million. Kobo is a leading producer of e-readers and tablet computers. Kobo’s management and operations will remain in Toronto.
  • Marubeni Corporation has announced that it and Winsway Coking Coal Holdings Limited of China have jointly acquired the Alberta-based Canadian coal producer Grande Cache Coal Corporation.
  • Air Canada announced that its non-stop Tokyo-Calgary flight will now operate year round.
  • Arc’teryx Equipment Inc. announced that a second Arc’teryx store will open in Japan in April 2012. The new store will feature women’s clothing and accessories.
  • Inpex Corporation, through INPEX Gas British Columbia Ltd., has agreed in principle to acquire a 40-percent participating interest in B.C. shale gas projects from Nexen Inc.
  • Encana Corporation has entered into an agreement with Mitsubishi Corporation to acquire a 40-percent stake in Encana’s Cutbank Ridge Partnership.
  • Toyota Tsusho Corp. signed an agreement with Quebec-based Matamec Explorations Inc. to explore the feasibility of extracting heavy rare earths from Matamec’s Kipawa, Quebec, deposit.
  • JX Nippon Oil & Energy Corporation and Xstrata Coal announced the creation of a joint venture for Xstrata’s coal assets in western Canada. JX Nippon Oil & Energy paid over $400 million to acquire a 25-percent interest in Xstrata Coal British Columbia.
  • MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd. and Mitsubishi Electric Corporation signed a multimillion dollar contract to provide advanced technology solutions for Mitsubishi’s communications satellite.
  • Canada’s Neptec Design Group Ltd. is ready to deliver its prototype of a key technology for a Japanese satellite. For Neptec, this represents the culmination of over three years of design and development efforts and collaboration with the Canadian Space Agency and Japanese engineers.
  • Mitsui Mining & Smelting Co. Ltd. and Itochu Corporation have announced that they will invest an additional $6 million for 2012 into the Ruddock Creek joint venture between Imperial Metals Corporation, Mitsui and Itochu. This announcement is the outcome of the excellent results obtained to date from the $14-million invested in 2010 by Mitsui and Itochu toward the development of a new zinc-lead mine in British Columbia.
  • Regina-based SaskPower and Hitachi, Ltd., announced that they are partnering to construct a $60-million carbon-capture test facility (CCTF) at SaskPower’s Shand Power Station in southeastern Saskatchewan. The CCTF will allow international developers to fully evaluate the performance of their systems in capturing carbon dioxide emissions from coal-fired thermal power plants. SaskPower and Hitachi will each contribute approximately $30 million to the CCTF, with SaskPower acting as owner and operator.