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At luncheon with Prime Minister Jean Charest of Quebec, I met with quite a few Canadians.  They include Ambassador Jonathan T. Fried of Canada, Director General Claude-Yves Charron of Delegation of the Government of Quebec in Tokyo, and Mr. Wilf C. Wakely, Registered Foreign Law Solicitor representing the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Japan.  We talked about my experience in Canada, in particular, how impressed I have been by various policies taken by Prime Minister Jean Charest for Labor mobility in Quebec.   I also had an honor to meet with several Japanese such as ex-ambassador to Canada.

I told the Ambassador Fried (and Prime Minister Charest) that I am a self-designated ambassador of Canada (and of Quebec) as I have enjoyed every minute I spent in Canada, whether it is British Columbia or in Quebec.

I feel that Canada has a lot to offer, though it is still not as well known as it should be to the Japanese.  Its natural resources are so abundant and their financial services industry is in relatively good shape due to the strict regulations (unlike the U.S. and some European countries which have suffered so much in the past few years.)  From my own experience of spending some summers there, I find people very friendly and easy going, leading rather relaxed lifestyle.

As I wrote several times before, balancing the unique culture and tradition of Quebec and opening it up to the world (in particular, to high skilled talent) is impressive.  It sounds good in theory, but very difficult to implement, and for that reasons, I find the leadership by Jean Charest visionary and at the same time, practical.

I feel even jealous to find such visionary political leaders as Mr. Jean Charest and people who would elect leaders like him, when I reflect the situation in Japan lately.  The leaders in Canada seem to understand the global reality and deal with it.

Plan Nord which was announced in May, this year, is a very ambitious project to pursue economic growth, environment, sustainable and harmonious society at the same time. It seems there is a huge potential for many Japanese companies to collaborate for this project.  I will make every effort to let people in Japan become aware of the potential.

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