Areas of collaboration

Bilaterally, Québec’s efforts to establish collaborative relations with Japan are essentially set out in priorities 1 and 3 of Québec’s International Policy.

Building a more prosperous Québec

Japan is Québec’s second largest export market in Asia (after China) and sixth largest worldwide. Year after year, the bio-food sector has accounted for nearly half of Québec’s exports in this market, with a market share of over 40%. Aerospace is another sector that has experienced considerable success, with high-tech products accounting for nearly 30% of Québec’s exports to Japan.

For more information on Japan’s economy and trade relations between Québec and Japan, please consult the Note sur le commerce du Japon (French only).

Examples of recent trade agreements

  • August 2017 – Air Canada announces that it will offer non-stop service between Montréal and Tokyo
  • May 2016 – CyberConnect2 announces the opening of a Montréal branch in the video games sector
  • April 2016 – Kabuchan International invested $1 million in private financing for the Théâtre Le Diamant project in Québec City
  • February 2016 – Bridgestone invested $312 million in its Joliette plant in Québec
  • September 2015 – Olympus NDT, specialist in composite fault detection, will invest $35 million in Québec to build a new complex by 2017 for its 400 employees
  • May 2015 – Medicago, a subsidiary of Japanese Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma, will invest $245 million in Québec to build a new facility in 2019, thus creating 200 new highly specialized jobs.

Promoting Québec creativity, culture, knowledge and specificity

While business-oriented activities have always dominated trade between Québec and Japan, activities related to culture, research and innovation, and those related to Québec’s identity and the French language are becoming increasingly important. Headed by major industrial groups, Japan’s mature economy is a frontrunner in research and development spending (ranking fourth worldwide with 3.3% of its gross domestic product in 2015) thereby providing business and partnership opportunities for innovative companies and Québec researchers.

Research, innovation and knowledge development

Japan’s most promising sectors for Québec include information and communications technology, green building, video games, aeronautics, artificial intelligence and life sciences.

Québec universities are active on the Japanese scene. There were 35 agreements in 2014 between Japanese and Québec universities. The Université de Montréal and Université Laval stand out in this regard. Each has a dozen bilateral student and professor exchange agreements in effect.

McGill University celebrated the 15th anniversary of its McGill MBA Japan program in 2014 and has a network of more than 450 graduates who completed their studies in Japan.


Regarded as one of the world’s main cultural centres, Japan is a market of interest for many Québec artists. Many of these artists have achieved remarkable success there, especially in the performing arts. A case in point is the phenomenal success of Cirque du Soleil, which has thrilled more than 10 million Japanese spectators over the past 20 years. Another example that demonstrates how much the Japanese appreciate Québec cultural creations is the highly regarded exhibition on Frédéric Back’s work, presented at Tokyo’s Museum of Contemporary Art in 2011 and subsequently at the Sapporo Art Museum and Hiroshima Prefectural Art Museum in 2012.

The reason so many Québec artists are benefiting from the ties that the Québec Government Office in Tokyo has established with a broad network of Japanese cultural representatives is that the ties have also enabled a large number of Japanese producers and distributors to participate in such major events in Québec as the Festival TransAmériques, Montréal Complètement Cirque, Coups de Théâtre and CINARS (International Performing Arts Conference).

In order to maximize contacts with Japan’s cultural community, the Government of Québec established a partnership in 2017 with the Tokyo Museum of Contemporary Art, which administers the Tokyo Wonder Site Residency. This agreement, which is based on the principle of reciprocity, offers accommodations for Québec artists in the heart of the Japanese capital and provides opportunities for them to exchange and collaborate with Japanese creators and their professional networks.

French language

Québec studies in Japan have grown considerably in recent years and several achievements in which the Québec Government Office in Tokyo and the Ministère des Relations internationales et de la Francophonie participated bear noting:

  • An undergraduate course on Québec offered once a year at Meiji University in Tokyo since 2003
  • The Québec documentation centre at Meiji University, which has a collection of more than 2,000 books
  • Launch of a second course on Québec offered since 2013 by Konan University in Kobe;
  • Creation of the Japanese Association for Québec Studies (French only) in 2008; the association has a membership of nearly 100 teachers, publishes a Japanese Québec Studies journal annually and organizes a conference for its members, in which Québec speakers from a variety of sectors participate.
  • Publication of Le Québec si lointain, si proche in 2013. Produced by the Japanese Association for Québec Studies for the 40th anniversary of the Québec Government Office in Tokyo, the 300-page work deals with the broad spectrum of ties that have been forged over the decades between Québec and Japan.

Since 2010, Québec has been represented within the Council for the Promotion of La Francophonie in Japan (French only), an organization that brings together over twenty ambassadors from member countries of the International Organization of La Francophonie and some fifteen Francophone associations in Japan.

The Council’s goal is to promote the plurality of La Francophonie in Japan and highlight the use of French through various activities such as the celebration of International Francophonie Day.

In anticipation of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, the Council will work closely with the International Organization of La Francophonie, whose regional office for the Asia-Pacific region is located in Vietnam, to ensure the presence and visibility of French at this international event.

Last update: 2019-12-20 2:44:57 PM