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Crowley: Japan, not China, is key to Canada’s Asia-Pacific aspirations

Ottawa Citizen

Geography, history, immigration and economic self-interest all say Canada should be an Asia-Pacific country. Europe still matters, but our old Atlantic focus seems increasingly out of step with an Asia-obsessed world. Yet our Asia-Pacific aspirations remain largely just that: aspirations.

Some Canadians talk a good game about the Pacific Century. We remain, however, babes in the Asian woods, sure that we must be present, but having little clue how to turn our good intentions into real engagement.

One classic mistake is to be dazzled by China’s rise and therefore assume our principal Asian relationship should be with the resurgent dragon. Japan, however, is a far better fit for Canada.

The issue isn’t market size. On this, it is hard to compete with China, now the world’s second largest economy. On the other hand, Japan is still the world’s third largest economy, and as a customer in its own right, as…

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