Pacific Partners: The Japanese Presence in Canadian Business, Society, and Culture


186 pages
Contains Index
ISBN 1-55028-493-2
DDC 382'.0971052




Reviewed by Randall White

Randall White is the author of Voice of Region: On the Long Journey to
Senate Reform in Canada and Global Spin: Probing the Globalization


Japan is currently Canada’s second-largest trading partner. While
about 60 percent of recent Canadian exports to Japan originated in
British Columbia, Japan is also a significant export destination for six
other provinces. Japanese automotive investment has been an important
element in Ontario’s recent industrial development. During the 1980s,
foreign investment by Canadian firms in Japan increased at more than
twice the rate of Canadian investment in the global village at large.

Statistics notwithstanding, pressures from other directions have meant
that the Canada–Japan relationship has received considerably less
attention than it deserves. The authors of this book see Japan not only
as a potential counterweight to the obsessive Canada–U.S. relationship
but also as a source for fresh Canadian learning in the “painful
process of preparing ... for the new global realities.” Their greatest
concern is that “the Canada–Japan love affair appears to be cooling
down,” as Japan, engaged in its own struggle with the new global
realities, becomes less interested in Vancouver, Toronto, and Ottawa and
increasingly more obsessed with Singapore, Taiwan, China, and Indonesia.

This useful primer has perhaps too much of a far-western-Canadian
regional tilt. Although in B.C. it no doubt still makes sense to say
that the “vast majority of Canada’s exports are resource
products,” such products account for only a little more than a quarter
of all exports originating in Ontario. Pacific Partners nonetheless
delivers a number of messages that are worth hearing in all parts of the


Holroyd, Carin, and Ken Coates., “Pacific Partners: The Japanese Presence in Canadian Business, Society, and Culture,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 24, 2024,