Greetings from Consul-General WATABE Takahiko
My name is WATABE Takahiko and I was appointed as Consul-General of Japan in Calgary on September 15th and I assumed my posting here on October 24th. My specialization is in Romanian but I have also worked in many other offices in North America such as Boston and Huston, as well as Brisbane, Australia.
This will be my second time working in Canada since my last post at the Embassy in Ottawa, which is quite nostalgic. At that time, about 25 years ago, it was the Chretien administration, during which the Anti-personnel Mine Ban Convention was signed, talks between President Fujimori and Prime Minister Hashimoto were being held to resolve the hostage crisis at the Embassy of Japan in Peru, the APEC Summit was held in Vancouver as well as visits by the Prime Minister and Foreign Minister. It was a time of continuous work, but I always had the kind assistance of the very friendly Canadian people who place a high importance on tolerance of other cultures and an emphasis on human rights.
Before coming to Calgary, I have received many briefings in Tokyo about the current situation of the Consulate’s jurisdiction. Canada is becoming of great significance more and more to the Asia-Pacific region. At the same time, I learned that the importance of my jurisdiction also continues to grow faster than ever from the standpoint of energy and food security due to the influence of matters such as the situation in Ukraine. Many items in Canada are crucial to Japan such as LNG, hydrogen, fuel ammonia, small-modular nuclear reactors, food products like wheat, potassium chloride sourced from raw materials for fertilizer. Thank you for your support as I endeavor to offer my assistance to the best of my ability in the aforementioned fields.
Canadians and Japanese nationals living in Canada have been adversely affected in many ways of the past few years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. At last, as of this October restrictions in Canada have been completely lifted and travel restrictions on the Japan side were mostly relaxed. Further, various preparations are being made to actively promote exchange not just on the political and economic fronts, but also on those of cultural and tourism as well. I hope to energize Canada-Japan exchange to a level even higher than it was before the COVID-19 pandemic. To that end, I am grateful for your guidance and support. Thank you very much.
Consul-General of Japan in Calgary
October 24th, 2022