Interviewee: Mr. Frederic Temblay, Advisor-Government Relations and Public Affairs (Date: July 22, 2011; Quebec Government Office, Westwood, Los Angeles, California; Interviewer/Writer: Takahiro Miyao)
Summary of Mr. Frederic Tremlay’s Interview
I am mainly in charge of education, research and other public affairs at the Los Angeles Office of the Quebec Government, and currently working on the exchange of university faculty, researchers and students as well as research activities between Quebec and the US in general and the western states in particular. There are a number of important fields and topics for joint research and study in this context. First of all, the Plan Nord should be pointed out, as this is called the “project of a generation” in Quebec to focus on Northern Quebec for economic, social, environmental as well as energy development. This project, leading to more than $80 billion over a period of 25 years, is so huge that it requires extensive collaborations among government, business, academia and local communities within as well as across regional and national boundaries. This project is closely related to Quebec’s development strategy of environmental and green technology, aiming at the achievement of sustainable development by fostering environmental and green technology industries. For example, the Quebec government and industry are working with their counterparts in California and other western states in the US regarding environmental policies such as cap-and-trade programs on greenhouse gas emissions as well as industrial policies to promote electric cars. Needless to say, joint research activities in this field are actively taking place between Quebec and US research institutions. There are many other fields in which Quebec and the US, especially California, are working together for mutual benefit in terms of research and business, from the life science field, particularly the biopharmaceutical industry, to high-tech entertainment businesses such as the movie and gaming industries. Here, our challenge is to attract skilled workers and professionals to prosper in these key industries. For that purpose, we emphasize not only education and training for new immigrants, but also mutual recognition of skilled workers’ competencies with France to facilitate the mobility of skilled workers. As a result of these public and private efforts, Quebec’s business, research and academic activities have recently been advancing faster than anyone expected just a few years ago, and the people in Quebec have gained enough confidence in themselves to become open-minded in promoting closer relationship with the US and other countries and also to play an important role in the nation as a leader, not as a separatist any longer, as clearly shown in the last general election. References: Plan Nord (French): http://plannord.gouv.qc.ca/ Plan Nord (English): http://plannord.gouv.qc.ca/english/ Environmental and green technology: http://www.mdeie.gouv.qc.ca/ministere/english/about-us/strategies/departmental-strategy/a-development-strategy-for-quebecs-environmental-and-green-technology-industry/ Interview with LA Representative (2007): http://japanquebec.blog76.fc2.com/blog-date-200707.html Interview with LA (Interim) Representative (2010): http://japanquebec.blog76.fc2.com/blog-entry-65.html
(Interviewer: Takahiro Miyao) ------------------------------------------------------------ フレデリック・トランブレー氏のインタビュー （Frederic Temblay, Advisor-Government Relations and Public Affairs） 日時：2011年7月22日 場所：米国カリフォルニア州ロサンゼルス、ケベック州政府ロサンゼルスオフィス
LA Interim Representative Mr. Yanick Godbout LA Office
Interviewee: Mr. Yanick Godbout, Quebec Government Office-Los Angeles, Interim Representative, and Director of Governmental Relations and Public Affairs (Date: June 11, 2010; Place: Westwood, Los Angeles, California; Interviewer/Writer: Takahiro Miyao)
Summary of Mr. Godbout’s Interview
At our office in Los Angeles, we are in charge of the relationship between Quebec and California as well as 12 other Western states in the U.S. regarding political, economic, cultural, and other affairs. What we are currently working on, however, is really a matter of national and even global concern, namely, climate change and clean energy.
First, about the environment and climate change, we are in the process of adopting a “cap and trade” system to reduce carbon gas emissions in Quebec, along with California and several other states in the U.S., ahead of other parts of North America. The reason why we take this kind of “regional approach” is because many states and provinces believed that the two federal governments were not acting rapidly enough to fight global warming. But we Quebecois are so keen about the environment that we have decided to do it now, together with some U.S. states like California, and three other Canadian provinces.
A related matter is our efforts to push electric cars in Quebec by working with California. In Quebec, use of electric cars is being encouraged and supported by the government, which will soon build battery charging stations for electric cars along major highways in the province. And some companies in Quebec will manufacture batteries and other key components for electric cars to be used by U.S. automakers to supply in North America and other parts of the world in the future.
Another strength of Quebec is its film, multimedia, and game industries. In fact, Warner Brothers will soon open up its studio in Montreal to make use of high quality human resources for sophisticated work such as video games, animation and special effects. Our office here in LA is working hard to attract U.S. companies operating in this sector to Quebec as a location for their new studios and other facilities. It is also well known that Montreal is one of the major movie locations in North America, and Quebec is producing many excellent films to show at Montreal Film Festival and other major film festivals in the world. With some government incentives, we have been able to produce and keep high quality human resources to support all these activities in our film industry.
On the other hand, a serious challenge for us in Quebec is how to secure and replenish high quality labor force for our growing economy in the future, as population is gradually aging, just as in Japan. Of course, immigration is the key to this problem, and we are encouraging immigration, though, with emphasis on education in general and French language training in particular for new immigrants. We are also working with other francophone countries for human interaction and knowledge exchange. For example, we have signed a bilateral agreement with France to mutually recognize professional formation.
In this connection, Quebecois sometime adopt children from other countries, and this time quite a few babies are being adopted from Haiti in the aftermath of the big earthquake. As is well known, the government of Quebec is actively trying to help out the people in Haiti, since large Haitian immigrants are located in Quebec. References: Quebec Government Office Los Angles: http://www.quebec-losangeles.org/ Japan-Quebec Blog; Interview with LA Representative (2007): http://japanquebec.blog76.fc2.com/blog-date-200707.html
以上（文責：宮尾尊弘） ------------------------------------------------------------------ With Mr. Godbout at a nearby restaurant after interview -------------------------------------------------------------------
Claude-Yves Charron and Misa Hirai Charron クロード・イヴ・シャロン博士と平井みさ夫人
On Saturday, June 28, I had dinner with Dr. Claude-Yves Charron and Mrs. Misa Hirai at the "best" Japanese restaurant in Montreal, where we enjoyed good sake and excellent sushi as well as our conversation. I presented them with a question which was raised during our seminar discussion at L'Institut Franco-Japonais de Tokyo last month, that is; "Why Quebec for Japan?" In response, Dr. Charron said that Quebec could be a model for Japan as a bridge between different cultures in the international context, while Mrs. Misa Hirai emphasized some commen elements between Japan and Quebec such as sophistication, high-quality and artistic sense. Dr. Charron also pointed out the fact that Japan, squeezed by the powers of China and the U.S., needs a kind of survival strategy that Quebec has developed to survive between the powers of Europe and the U.S. In the end, the three of us agreed that a closer relation between Japan and Quebec would benefit each other tremendously, and especially Japan would be able to learn from Quebec in terms of logical thinking, self-expression and open-mindedness, all of which are so essential in survival and prosperity in this globalized world. Reference: Interview with Dr. Charron (8/30/2007): http://japanquebec.blog76.fc2.com/blog-entry-24.html -------------------------------------------------------- シャロン博士夫妻との会食と意見交換
Interviewee: Prof. Hidehiro Tachibana, Waseda University, President of SJDF (Societe japonaise de didactique du français; Japanese Society of French Education) (Date: April 28, 2008; Place: Waseda University, Tokyo; Interviewer/Writer: Takahiro Miyao)
On April 28, I visited Prof. Hidehiro Tachibana and asked him about his thoughts on Quebec at his Waseda University office, filled with books on French language, literature and culture in Japanese as well as in French. Since I know little about France or French, I felt somewhat awkward at the beginning of my interview, but then I found Prof. Tachibana’s messages quite clear and straightforward, and became relaxed as the interview went on.
Summary of Prof. Tachibana’s Interview
The first message of Prof. Tachibana was that, for understanding the importance of the French language, we should focus not only on France alone, but also on a variety of countries and regions in the world, where French is being spoken, as represented at the annual Francophonie Festival. In this regard, Quebec is a very interesting region, where some traditional expressions of French (original French in the 16-17th centries) are still alive, and the language has been playing a crucial role in forming their identity in the isolated environment without going through the revolution as in their mother country. To study this further, Prof. Tachibana recommended a recent book on “Comparisons of Nations and Cultures of the New World,” written by Quebec historian Gerard Bouchard and translated into Japanese by Prof. Tachibana and his colleagues (http://www.hanmoto.com/bd/isbn978-4-7791-1241-6.html/).
His second message was about lessons that Japan can learn from Quebec. He said he was very impressed with the recent revival of Quebec Province, which has shown its vitality in economic, cultural and other fields, after achieving social stability within Quebec for the last couple of decades. Unlike their turmoil years in the 60s and 70s, the Province has recently been attracting and educating a variety of excellent French speaking individuals in arts, science, high-technology, etc., and also adopting and succeeding in its controversial language policy, resulting in the establishment of Quebec, especially the city of Montreal, as one of the main economic and cultural centers in Canada as well as in North America. What Japan can learn from Quebec is exactly the spirit of independence and determination shown in adopting their unique language-culture policy, which has enabled Quebec to be open to the surrounding English-speaking world, however strong they seem, for coexistence and mutual prosperity, whereas Japan has been somewhat stagnant not only economically , but also mentally, and becoming inward-looking for the last couple of decades. In order to reverse these trends, there may be some lessons in the Quebec experience for Japan, according to Prof. Tachibana.
His last message in response to my question of what we should do to promote Quebec-Japan relations was that we need to interact with each other more often, if possible, on a daily basis to discover something similar or different in each others’ daily lives for mutual understanding. For that purpose, we should encourage “online communication” in addition to regular tourism among the general public and regular exchange programs among students and scholars between Quebec and Japan. Hopefully, this kind of blog activity can contribute to that end. References: SJDF (Societe japonaise de didactique du français) in French: http://wwwsoc.nii.ac.jp/sjdf/index-e.html Gerarld Bouchard (Wikipedia) in English: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/G%C3%A9rard_Bouchard/
Interview with Ms. Suzanne Ethier：スザンヌ・エティエ代表とのインタビュー
Interview Series #21：インタビュー＃２１
Interviewee: Ms. Suzanne Ethier Representative, Delegation Office of Quebec Government, Tokyo (Date: March 14, 2008; Place: Delegation Office, Tokyo; Interviewer/Writer: Takahiro Miyao)
I was recently invited to meet Madame Suzanne Ethier, new representative of Quebec Delegation Office in Tokyo, who had arrived in Japan a few days before. It was a very nice, friendly meeting, where she expressed her interest in working for developing closer relations between Quebec and Japan, especially among young students and scholars at universities and research institutes. While emphasizing the importance of exchange in education and research, she touched on wide-ranging topics, from design/brand marketing to environmental problems, where Japan and Quebec (and Canada as a whole) could work together in a fruitful way.
Summary of Ms. Ethier’s Interview
I came to Japan for the first time in 1997, as a member of the Quebec government's mission to the Asia-Pacific region, and have visited Japan 7-8 times since then. I like Japan very much and, as the Quebec government representative in Tokyo this time, wish to help develop a closer relationship between Quebec and Japan, especially in the field of education and research. It is important to interact with young students and researchers in Japan so that they may become aware of important academic and scientific resources in Quebec for establishing mutually beneficial relations in the long run.
Although it may be “fashionable” to focus on China in the Asia-Pacific region these days, I strongly feel that Japan has a lot to offer to the outside world. For one thing, Japan has a very strong manufacturing activity with excellent managerial practices and technological knowhow, which Quebec businesses can learn from. In return, Quebec can provide Japan with expertise in strategically selected sectors such as aerospace, digital graphics, health and life sciences, etc. Branding and design may be another area where Quebec and Japan can work together to compete with developing countries in the global economy.
I also feel strongly about environmental problems facing us, and hope that Japan and Quebec (and Canada as a whole) can together make a contribution in this field. This year is particularly important for Japan, as the Summit meeting with focus on global warming will be held in Hokkaido this summer, and discussions seem to be at a crossroads as to whether a new global framework can be agreed upon by all the major countries including China and India. Here, Japan’s initiative seems crucial, and we will do our best to help Japan achieve a success in this regard.
Finally, I sincerely hope that Quebec can possibly offer a helpful model for Japan in such areas as immigration, language education, multi-cultural management as well as gender issues, as Japan is bound to face, if not already facing, these social problems in a rapidly globalizing world. We have so many things to share and learn from each other, and I am looking forward to my task to facilitate the process of sharing and learning between Quebec and Japan. References: Delegation General: Suzanne Ethier (in French) http://www.gouv.qc.ca/portail/quebec/international/japon/delegations/tokyo/chefposte/?lang=fr
Interview with Mr. Simon Chabot: シモン・シャボウト氏のインタビュー
Interview Series #20 (@Quebec City): インタビュー＃２０
Mr. Simon Chabot
Interviewee: Mr. Simon Chabot, Manager, Centre de valorization internationale de l’expertise publique quebecoise (Center for International Promotion of Quebec Public Expertise), Quebec （Date: January 22, 2008; Place: Restaurant La Vie, Yamanoue Hotel, Kanda, Tokyo; Interviewer/Writer: Takahiro Miyao）
I met and interviewed Mr. Simon Chabot, who was a manager of the Center for International Promotion of Quebec Public Expertise, accompanying Ms. Christine Lavoie-Gagnon of CLAGA as an interpreter, at a nice restaurant in Tokyo. It was a fruitful interview to find out about his current mission in Japan as well as the objectives of his center, which is a result of the partnership among ENAP (The Public Administration University), the Ministry of International Relation and the Ministry of Economic Development, Innovation and Exports in Quebec.
Summary of Mr. Chabot’s Interview
I am visiting Japan for the first time as a manager of CVI (Centre de valorization internationale de l’expertise publique quebecoise), whose mission is to export Quebec government knowhow to other countries. Here in Tokyo I am contacting such universities as the United Nations University and Meiji University, and some public organizations for information exchange and sharing this time. After learning about each other’s issues and problems in the public sector, we will work out some effective measures to be implemented by applying our knowhow in Quebec.
There seem to be many areas for cooperation between us for the purpose of providing public services more effectively and efficiently. For example, IT (information technology) has been applied extensively in the Quebec government, and the results so far have been quite encouraging (in this regard, we should acknowledge Mr. Francoise Cote’s efforts and contributions at the Quebec government). So we wish to share our knowhow in this area with Japan’s central and local governments.
Another area is how to train public sector personnel and utilize them in the government sector effectively. A key point is to provide stimulating opportunities and challenges for public sector personnel in order for the public sector to compete with the private sector, which can generally offer a better pay. For that purpose, we would like to have more international cooperation and exchange so that students and personnel in the pubic sector field can look forward to international experiences as their future challenges. This is one of the reasons why we are contacting Japanese universities to promote cooperation and exchange with CVI and ENAP. In fact, ENAP could be a good model for Japan to establish a public administration university in the future.
Interview with Ms. Brassard & Mr. Gosselin: ブラッサード女史とゴセラン氏のインタビュー
Interview Series #19 (@Quebec City): インタビュー＃１９ Mr. Denis Gosselin and Ms. Annie Brassard
Interviewees: Ms. Annie Brassard, Commissioner General, International Relations Commission, Quebec City Mr. Denis Gosselin, Director, Investment, Prospecting, POLE （Date: August 31, 2007; Place: Quebec City Building, 2 des Jardins; Interviewer/Writer: Takahiro Miyao）
Ms. Annie Brassard and Mr. Denis Gosselin kindly took time to meet me in spite of their extremely busy schedule due to the sudden death of their mayor about a week before our meeting. In interviewing these two distinguished representatives of the city, I was impressed with their positive thinking, clearly looking into the future of Quebec beyond the unexpected hardship at hand. Especially noteworthy were their international perspectives in performing their duties for Quebec City, as explained in the following summary.
Summary of Ms. Brassard’s Interview
As Commissioner General of Quebec City’s International Relations Commission, I am in charge of international relations, including immigration programs and international protocols for the City of Quebec. It is not very common for a city to have this kind of commission, but Quebec City needs one because it is a provincial capital and also a city to encourage and coordinate its key institutions to develop partnerships with francophone cities in other countries. We also have a responsibility to help immigrants settle down in the city and integrate themselves with Quebec society socially as well as professionally. Of course, we are closely working with the provincial government and the federal government regarding international relations and foreign affairs, for example, on our 400th anniversary of Quebec City for 2008.
We are interested in working with municipalities in foreign countries like Japan, not in general terms such as sister city relations, but in specific terms focusing on business, educational, institutional, and other specific fields. Our specific areas of expertise include heritage strategies and conservation, rehabilitation of old urban areas, water and waste management, as well as a number of engineering fields such as geomatics. We are also good at general urban maintenance services during the winter season such as snow plowing. If there is any Japanese municipality that is interested in these specific fields or services, we would like to work with them.
Summary of Mr. Gosselin’s Interview
I am the Director for Foreign Investment Prospecting at POLE, the Economic Development Agency for the Greater Quebec City Metropolitan Area. The first line of our business is to support the most dynamic sectors in the region, namely, health science, applied technology, and manufacturing as clusters of excellence. The second line of business is to promote investment and attract business into this region, and the third line is to help train local businesses to achieve best practices in terms of productivity, innovation, quality, etc. POLE is financially supported by three levels of government and also by self-generating revenues.
As is widely known by now, Quebec City is one of the fastest growing cities as well as one of the most livable and sustainable cities in North America, according to recent surveys published in international magazines. A major reason for this extraordinary achievement is that we have developed “brain industries,” such as optics, photonics, life science industries, etc., which are clean and environment friendly. The high quality of life in Quebec City is attracting intelligent people and, as a result, Quebec City has the highest concentration of researchers in terms of density in Canada.
Regarding Japanese business, we have not been too active in interacting with Japanese companies, because Japan is a little too far and we are yet to learn how to do business in Japan. But the number of Japanese-affiliated companies in Quebec City is now 17 (including Olympus, Fujitsu and Asahi Glass) out of 140 foreign-affiliated companies in Quebec City, and we are trying to attract more Japanese companies in most advanced fields such as optics, photonics, health science, and security business. Any Japanese business that is interested in these areas would be welcome to Quebec City. References: Quebec City: Official Website: http://www.ville.quebec.qc.ca POLE, Quebec: http://www.pole-qca.ca/index_en.php
(Written by T. Miyao) ------------------------------------------------------------- アニー・ブラッサード女史とデニ・ゴセラン氏 ブラッサード女史：ケベック市国際関係委員会・委員長 ゴセラン氏：POLEディレクター （2007年8月31日、ケベック市庁舎にて；聞き手：宮尾尊弘）
Interviewee: Mr. Francois Cote The Secretary General, The National Assembly of Quebec （Date: August 31, 2007; Place: Parliament Building, 1045 des Parlementaires, Quebec; Interviewer/Writer: Takahiro Miyao）
It was really nice getting together with Mr. Cote in Quebec, because my “Japan-Quebec Blog” was born out of the idea that I expressed to Mr. Cote and Mr. Michel Bissonnet, President of the National Assembly, who visited Japan about a year ago, and my blog activity has eventually led to my visit to Quebec. In my interview, Mr. Cote explained (with the help of Ms. Dominique Drouin as an interpreter) about some important developments in the National Assembly and also in Quebec-Japan relations, as seen in the following summary.
Summary of Mr. Cote’s Interview
First, I would like to explain about our “Friendship League” with Japanese politicians. When we visited Japan last year, we met a lot of national and local politicians, especially the president and other members of Tokyo Metropolitan Government. As a result, we have agreed to have an exchange program for parliamentarians in order to promote a closer relationship between Quebec and Japan. In fact, we have an agreement between Canada and Japan that every time we send a delegation to Japan, Japan should reciprocate by sending their delegation to Canada. So, for the first time last week, a group of Japanese politicians visited us on that reciprocal basis, and also high-ranking officials will come to join our big celebrations in Quebec City next year.
Second, I wish to mention the application of information technology in our parliamentary system, which may interest some Japanese politicians. Now, we are introducing new technology to help our parliamentarians by making their work easier. Here are some examples. Each committee has its own webpage so that committee members have access to this page from their offices as well as from their committee rooms to see necessary information about bills, amendments, as well as public comments. Also the general public can send their opinions and comments to the parliament by e-mail, or use our videoconference system to discuss with committee members. In the Assembly room, we are now installing a “high-tech table,” where the Chairman can communicate with assembly members who have PCs on their desks, so the Chairman might have a net meeting in the assembly room, if necessary.
In applying IT to the parliamentary process, we are the leader in Canada. This is due to the fact that not only our Assembly but also all of our committees are open to the public, and all the discussions are aired by our parliamentary TV channel. So it is not too difficult to introduce IT into this open system. At any rate, this kind of IT application will improve the degree of public participation in the political process and also contribute to a paperless society for the sake of sustainability in the environment. On the other hand, we need to overcome a lot of challenges associated with new technology. In particular, the new system can be confusing to the public that cannot be sure whom they are sending comments to within the parliament. Also from our viewpoint, some public comments are not so good in quality, at least partly due to the use of IT, where people tend to respond too quickly without thinking much. In any case we need to deal with these challenges by learning from our own experience as well as from other countries like Japan.
Postscript (by T. Miyao) In response to my question about possible abolition of the Upper House in Japan, where the ruling coalition lost its majority, Mr. Cote only said that it would be too delicate for him to comment on Japanese politics, but clearly pointed out that in the case of Quebec, senators were not elected but appointed by the prime minister when it was abolished in 1968, a situation that might be different from other countries like Japan, where senators are elected by the general public. After the interview, he took me to the Assembly room, where the “high-tech table” was being installed in front of the Chairman’s seat. It was quite an interesting sight, because of a blend of old traditions in the parliament and new technology in communications. Then I realized this must be the Quebec way of survival by absorbing new ideas in an ever-changing world while preserving its long-held traditions to keep its identity. In the Assembly Room
Interviewee: Mr. Denys Legare Principal Director, Communication & Marketing Society of 400th Anniversary of Quebec City （Date: August 31, 2007; Place: 952 Grande Allee West, Quebec; Interviewer/Writer: Takahiro Miyao）
After about two hours of a comfortable train ride from Montreal, I arrived in Quebec City, the provincial capital, which is a much smaller and more congenial place than Montreal. This was my first visit to Quebec City since 1976, and I found some things never changed, while some other things completely changed compared to 30 years ago. Its Old Town, surrounded by walls and symbolized by Chateau Frontenac, looked exactly the same as before, but business and tourist activities seemed really booming this time around. In fact, Quebec City is now busy preparing itself for 10 month-long events to commemorate its 400th anniversary to start at the end of this year. So, I first visited the office of the Society of 400th Anniversary of Quebec City to find out about the celebrations.
Summary of Mr. Legare’s Interview
There is going to be a “big party” to celebrate our 400th anniversary. There are two ways to celebrate. One way is to have a lot of protocols and a lot of VIPs coming to hold official ceremonies. But we will do it our way, that is to offer to the general public 10 months of festivities from December 31 this year through October 19 next year. During that period, we will offer about 130 activities, including a memorable closing show on October 19 to be performed by Cirque de Soleil, which was born in this city twenty some years ago and has continually been supported by its citizens since then.
The key events include “the Image Mill,” the biggest multi-media architectural projection onto the huge surface of a six-kilometer-long grain mill, about the city’s past, present and future in playful animation to be produced by one and the only Robert Lepage, from June 20 until July 29. Another important thing is, of course, our main celebrations for Quebec City’s founding by Samuel de Champlain, who is believed to have settled in the city on July 3, 1608. So, we will have a series of major events from July 3 for the day’s big shows to be attended by many dignitaries from around the world, July 4 for simultaneous celebrations for Quebec and the U.S., July 5 for “Urban Opera” with the world’s greatest street artists and performers (some from Japan) paying tribute to the city, through July 6 for great family gathering by picnicking in the Plains of Abraham.
This July 6 event is important, because the Plains of Abraham was given to Quebec City as a gift to commemorate its 300th anniversary back in 1908, when this park was only made accessible to rich people from high society and not to low come class in the city. In order to signify a hundred years of democratization in Quebec society, we will have a picnic in the Plains of Abraham by inviting people from all classes. That is the point of having this event, and the family gathering will be immortalized by an aerial photograph that will be our legacy to the city’s 500th anniversary in 2108. This way Quebec City, a World Heritage Site, will be a place of encounters for all kinds of people with different historical and cultural backgrounds. So we welcome Japanese visitors to join the celebrations. References: 400th Anniversary of Quebec City: http://www.ville.quebec.qc.ca/en/400_anniversaire/ Quebec 1608-2008; Calendar of Events: http://www.monquebec2008.com/MonQuebec2008/?lang=en-ca
(Written by T. Miyao) ------------------------------------------------------------- デニ・レガレ氏 ケベック市200周年記念協会・事務総長 （2007年8月31日、ケベック市記念協会事務所にて；聞き手：宮尾尊弘）
Dr. Claude-Yves Charron and Mrs. Charron, Misa Hirai Interviewee: Dr. Claude-Yves Charron Vice-Rector, University of Quebec at Montreal （Date: August 30, 2007; Place: Dr. Charron's Residence, Fontainebleau, Blainville; Interviewer/Writer: Takahiro Miyao）
I am fortunate to have been acquainted with Dr. and Mrs. Charron for several years now, and once worked with them to organize a joint symposium on Quebec-Japan relations at UQAM in 2003. This time I enjoyed joining them at their new home in a beautiful community just outside the city, and interviewing Dr. Sharron to learn from his insight into challenges for Quebec business in Japan.
Summary of Dr. Charron’s Interview
There seem to be a couple of reasons why Quebec companies are not doing business with their Japanese counterparts, at least as much as they should. Aside from really large global businesses, relatively small companies in Quebec are not interested in a far distant region like Asia in the first place, and could only be attracted to rapidly growing economies such as China and India. Furthermore, if they ever get interested in doing business in Asia, they would prefer to engage in a highly profitable project, however risky it might be, to overcome costly entry barriers. Then, China or India might look much more promising than Japan. In other words, Japan is just not in the radar of small business in Quebec.
Yet another reason why there is not much business as it should be between Quebec and Japan is a big difference in negotiation style. It is customary on the part of Quebec companies to take tough stance with strong demands at the beginning of their negotiations, whereas the almost opposite stance is normally taken by Japanese companies. Therefore, Japanese negotiators, who are not accustomed to the Quebec style of negotiation, tend to think that their initial difference with their counterpart would be too big to overcome and thus give up their negotiations.
All this is very unfortunate, because Japan should be a place where Quebec companies could do business well, at least in the long run. Japan is a well developed society with a very large domestic market, where consumers are similar to their counterparts in Quebec in terms of income and taste. Therefore, we need to collect, disseminate, and exchange as much information as possible to inform each other of business opportunities as well as risks. References: Curriculum Vitae: Claude-Yves Charron: http://www.mic.unisi.ch/charron_cv_en_edited.pdf "2003 GLOCOM Montreal Forum Summary" Jointly organized by Claude-Yves Charron & Takahiro Miyao http://www.glocom.org/special_topics/activity_rep/20031215_miyao_mf/ (Written by T. Miyao) ------------------------------------------------------------- クロード・イヴ・シャロン博士 ケベック大学モントリオール校副学長 （2007年8月30日、シャロン博士夫妻宅にて；聞き手：宮尾尊弘）