Final Trip Report: Mission to Tokyo and Sapporo, Japan - November 22-28, 2015

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Honourable Oneil Carlier, Minister of Agriculture and Forestry (AF), led a mission to Tokyo and Sapporo, Japan from November 22-28, 2015 to support Alberta’s trade, investment and government relations priorities in this market.

Japan is a key overseas economic partner for Alberta, and priority market for the agriculture and forestry sectors. In 2014, Alberta agri-food exports to Japan totaled $1.2 billion, while forestry products exports totaled $290 million. In addition to commercial ties, Alberta and Japan have developed a strong relationship through cultural exchanges, educational initiatives, twinning arrangements, and people-to-people activities.

While the ties between Alberta and Japan are already well-developed, through this mission Minister Carlier sought to identify opportunities to further grow this relationship for mutual benefit. Minister Carlier met with key industry and government stakeholders in both Tokyo and Sapporo; spoke at an agriculture stakeholder event and a forestry products seminar; and participated in events to celebrate the 35th anniversary of the Alberta-Hokkaido sister province relationship.

The mission was successful in meetings its objectives as outlined below.

Mission Objectives:
  • Support the diversification of Alberta’s economy and export markets by profiling and advocating Alberta as a preferred supplier of agriculture and agri-food products, and as an investment destination of choice.
  • Promote market diversification in Alberta’s forestry sector by profiling the province as a preferred global supplier of natural resources and products, and showcasing the sustainable management of Alberta’s forests.
  • Build government relations in Japan at the national level, and by representing the Government of Alberta to commemorate the 35th anniversary of the Alberta-Hokkaido sister province relationship.


  • Minister Carlier’s delegation, along with a representative of the Embassy of Canada in Japan, met with representatives of Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries to advocate on behalf of Alberta’s agriculture and forestry sectors. Discussion centered on the recently concluded Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement, including the opportunities and challenges created if implemented.
  • Minister Carlier conducted a roundtable session with senior business representatives from Japan’s forestry sector, who spoke openly about the need for Alberta forestry products, as well as the concerns and challenges they face.
  • Minister Carlier supported trade and investment between Alberta and Japan in the forestry sector in meetings with key industry stakeholders, and gained an increased understanding of innovative uses of Alberta forest products in the market through a tour of an award-winning building in Tokyo using a mid-ply construction system designed in Canada.
  • Minister Carlier met with key Japanese food companies and retailers to encourage their continued sourcing of agri-food products from Alberta, as well as their interest in investing in the province. At an agriculture stakeholder event held in partnership with the Embassy of Canada, Minister Carlier engaged with a wide range of industry and government stakeholders in Japan’s agri-food sector. Alberta agri-food products were served at this event. Positive media coverage was received following the event.
  • Minister Carlier discussed the possibility of launching a pilot project to support company-to-company personnel exchanges in a meeting with an Alberta company and their Japanese partner. This “externship” pilot could help to foster the in-market relationships necessary to take advantage of the opportunities that may be created by the TPP. AF staff members are continuing to explore the development of this project. Positive media coverage was received following the discussions.

  • Minister Carlier profiled the sustainable management of Alberta’s forests to key industry representatives in opening remarks at a forest products seminar. Minister Carlier also provided key messaging on Alberta forest products and opportunities, and engaged with key government and industry stakeholders in a reception following the event. Alberta agri-food products were served at this reception. Positive media coverage was received following the event.
  • Minister Carlier met with Hokkaido Vice Governor Arakawa to express support for the longstanding Alberta-Hokkaido sister province relationship, as well as advocate on behalf of Alberta’s agriculture and forestry sectors. The significance of the Alberta-Hokkaido relationship, as well as the wide-ranging forms of cooperation that have taken place over the past 35 years, were emphasized. Discussion also focused on challenges related to agriculture, and opportunities for further collaboration between Alberta and Hokkaido to address these.
  • Minister Carlier went on an agriculture site visit with industry stakeholders to gain a deeper understanding of a potential investment opportunity for Alberta using an innovative agriculture technology transfer between Japan and Alberta.
  • Minister Carlier spoke at the opening of the Naoki Ishikawa Gallery, a photography exhibit previously displayed in the Royal Alberta Museum (RAM). This photography exhibit celebrated Alberta and Hokkaido’s rich historic relationship, featuring photographs taken in both locations. This exhibition was jointly supported by the Japan Foundation, the Government of Canada and the Government of Alberta. Following the event, museum officials discussed with Minister Carlier their desire to expand the existing Memorandum of Understanding between the RAM and the Hokkaido Museum for research purposes; follow up by the Alberta Japan Office and Alberta’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism is currently underway.
  • Minister Carlier met with Hokkaido Vice Governor Yamaya for a dinner celebrating the 35th anniversary of the Alberta-Hokkaido sister province relationship. Vice Governor Yamaya visited Alberta with a large Hokkaido delegation in October 2015. Minister Carlier delivered a speech reaffirming the province’s commitment to the sister-province relationship, and engaged in frank discussions with the group with respect to future potential collaborative activities, as well as the challenges and opportunities with respect to the TPP.

Overall, this mission served as an opportunity for Minister Carlier to engage with key Japanese industry and government stakeholders, and to show appreciation for and commitment to the deep ties that Alberta has developed with the Japanese market. The extensive commercial relationships that exist already between Alberta and Japanese agriculture and forestry companies are a testament to the strength of Alberta’s industry efforts and product quality. Through this trade mission, Minister Carlier identified a number of opportunities to build upon these successes. With continued hard work, Alberta will remain well-positioned to expand its presence in this critical market.

  • Minister Carlier
  • Anthony Clark, Chief of Staff to Minister Carlier
  • 1 GOA Staff

International Travel Final Expenses:

Expenditures by ParticipantsAmount
Travel (includes airfare, airport service fees, ground transportation costs, including taxis, car rentals, parking, trains, buses as well as mileage to/from airport or taxis to/from airport in Alberta, including any cancellation fees) $13,200.53
Accommodation (room charges and related taxes, including any cancellation fees) $3,791.05
Meals (includes restaurant bills and tips, meals on hotel bills, per diem meal claims, share of group meals or working sessions) $310.54
Incidental and Miscellaneous (includes cell phone rental charges, incremental costs for all electronic devices such as roaming charges for cell phones, iPads and costs associated with communications such as the costs incurred for media call-backs, conference/registration fees, including cancellation fees, fax and internet charges, passport and visa fees, medical and inoculation fees, laundry and dry cleaning, baggage handling, out-of-country per diems, and other sundry expenditures) $806.79
General Mission Expenditures Amount
Receptions and Hosting (receptions, luncheons, dinners, and events that are hosted by the Government of Alberta that are specific to the mission and include meeting related costs for room rental, room rental for hosted events, food, beverages, catering staff, service charges, entertainment, flowers) $7,178.47
Incidental and Miscellaneous (includes translation of documents fees, publications, shipping charges, gifts purchased specifically for mission, Canadian Embassy/High Commission/Consulate charges for services provided to the GOA) $5,947.45
Total Costs$31,234.83

Final Itinerary:

November 23Arrive Tokyo, Japan
Briefing with the Alberta Japan Office
November 24Meetings
    - Canadian Embassy
    - Alberta forestry roundtable
    - Japanese forestry company
    - Japanese food company
    - Japanese government officials
    - Visit to Japanese retail location
November 25Meetings
    - Japanese paper company
    - Senior representative of food retail outlet
    - Visit to Japanese retail location
    - Alberta and Japanese companies regarding externship pilot
Speak at agriculture stakeholder event
November 26Travel to Sapporo, Japan
Speak at Forestry Seminar
    - Hokkaido government officials
November 27Speak at Hokkaido Museum – gallery opening and 35th anniversary events
    - Agriculture site visit
    - Anniversary dinner with Hokkaido government officials
November 28Return to Alberta
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This information published to the web on February 11, 2016.