This year, we were unable to invite the lecturer to campus due to COVID-19; however, in commemoration of the 55th anniversary of the sister city relationship between Yokohama and Vancouver, Mr. Ian Burney, the Ambassador of Canada to Japan, delivered a lecture titled “From rocks and logs to AI: Canada-Japan trade relations in a turbulent global environment” on Zoom Webinar on December 16, 2020. Professor Rui Ota, School of International Business and Economics, served as the moderator and 118 students participated in the event.
In the lecture, Ambassador Burney talked about current general perspectives of Canada as well as collaboration between Japan and Canada in various fields, with a focus on the ever-progressing trade relations between Japan and Canada. The ambassador stated that the strong tie between the two countries rests on the shared values on many global issues, and, even in the present circumstances where the prospects are unpredictable due to COVID-19 etc., it is crucial that both countries maintain the collaborative relations to overcome global issues, such as the pandemic, climate change, environmental preservation, and so on.
Furthermore, not limited to trade relations, the ambassador introduced that Canada is a world-leader innovation, and that there are connections between Canada and Japan in various fields, including energy, technology, space-related research, cultural exchange, and so on. Students were deeply impressed by the diversity of Japan’s relations with Canada, some of whom even expressed their astonishment to learn about it for the first time.
To close the lecture, the ambassador shared his perspective that the relation between Canada and Japan is strong, and it will be stronger after COVID-19 when the movement of people is resumed. As it is crucial that the young people have more interest in global issues and enhance their understanding of other countries and their cultures, he encouraged students, who will lead the next generation, to expand their horizon to the world, have eyes on the various global issues, and aim for an international career in the future.
In the Q & A session after the lecture, even though face-to-face interaction could not happen due to the limited functions of Webinar, students asked questions regarding the economy in Canada, relations with other countries, etc. by using audio and in-meeting chat feature. Ambassador Burney kindly and thoroughly answered all the questions.
The lecture was a precious opportunity for students to learn the characteristics of Canada and its close relationship with Japan.