Media Releases

Government of Japan establishes its first-in-Canada chair and centre in Japan studies at the University of Toronto

March 30, 2017

Toron­to, ON – At the Japan-Cana­da Sum­mit Meet­ing in May 2016, Japan­ese Prime Min­is­ter Shin­zo Abe not­ed that Japan wished to sup­port Japan­ese stud­ies at Cana­di­an uni­ver­si­ties in order to pro­mote mutu­al under­stand­ing between the two coun­tries. Today, based upon this com­mit­ment, the Gov­ern­ment of Japan is con­fer­ring US$5 mil­lion on the Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to to estab­lish an endowed chair in Japan­ese pol­i­tics and glob­al affairs, and to launch a Cen­tre for the Study of Glob­al Japan. The Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to is the first Cana­di­an uni­ver­si­ty to receive such sup­port from the Gov­ern­ment of Japan.

The Con­sul Gen­er­al of Japan in Toron­to, Mr. Yasunori Nakaya­ma, says, “At a time when we are expe­ri­enc­ing sig­nif­i­cant changes and insta­bil­i­ty on the glob­al stage, Japan and Cana­da, as mem­bers of G7 coun­tries that share com­mon val­ues, have a respon­si­bil­i­ty to make con­tri­bu­tions to the world com­mu­ni­ty that ensure peace and pros­per­i­ty. We also share com­mon chal­lenges such as ter­ror­ism, glob­al warm­ing and our aging pop­u­la­tions. It is there­fore imper­a­tive that our aca­d­e­m­ic insti­tu­tions are able to con­duct exten­sive research that enables us to prop­er­ly under­stand each oth­er. The Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to is one of the old­est, biggest and most influ­en­tial uni­ver­si­ties in Cana­da. I am delight­ed that an insti­tu­tion as pres­ti­gious as the Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to now has the means to sig­nif­i­cant­ly broad­en its study of con­tem­po­rary Japan with a glob­al per­spec­tive.”

“The Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to has a keen, long-stand­ing inter­est in Japan, because of its impor­tance on the world stage and the strong polit­i­cal, eco­nom­ic and cul­tur­al ties between our two coun­tries,” says U of T Pres­i­dent Mer­ic Gertler. “We are deeply hon­oured, there­fore, to have been select­ed by the Gov­ern­ment of Japan for this land­mark endow­ment, which will extend and ampli­fy our impact in the study of Japan as a major glob­al pow­er.”

The Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to is home to Canada’s first Depart­ment of East Asian Stud­ies and has sub­stan­tial exper­tise in the field. The gift will enable the Uni­ver­si­ty to recruit a top expert in the pol­i­tics, diplo­ma­cy, secu­ri­ty and glob­al affairs of Japan. The chairhold­er will be cross-appoint­ed to the Depart­ment of Polit­i­cal Sci­ence and the Munk School of Glob­al Affairs at the Fac­ul­ty of Arts & Sci­ence. In the inter­im, Pro­fes­sor David Welch will be appoint­ed the inau­gur­al vis­it­ing chair. Welch, a pro­fes­sor of polit­i­cal sci­ence at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Water­loo, holds the Cen­tre for Inter­na­tion­al Gov­er­nance Inno­va­tion Chair of Glob­al Secu­ri­ty at the Bal­sil­lie School of Inter­na­tion­al Affairs.

Pro­fes­sor Louis Pauly, chair of the Depart­ment of Polit­i­cal Sci­ence, says, “The endowed chair will secure the per­ma­nent pres­ence here of a schol­ar who stud­ies the polit­i­cal dimen­sions of Japan’s vital con­tri­bu­tions to region­al and glob­al order.” The chair will also lead the Cen­tre for the Study of Glob­al Japan.

The Cen­tre, which will be housed at the Munk School of Glob­al Affairs, will expand teach­ing, research and pub­lic out­reach by bring­ing togeth­er schol­ars of Japan from across the uni­ver­si­ty and beyond, as well as prac­ti­tion­ers and oth­ers inter­est­ed in the coun­try and the region. It will orga­nize a per­ma­nent lec­ture and sem­i­nar series, anchored by an annu­al lec­ture by an emi­nent ana­lyst of Japan­ese pol­i­tics and diplo­ma­cy.

“The Cen­tre will open up more bilat­er­al oppor­tu­ni­ties to build strong rela­tion­ships and life­long inter­ests in Japan­ese pol­i­tics and glob­al affairs,” says Pro­fes­sor Stephen Toope, direc­tor of the Munk School of Glob­al Affairs. “This part­ner­ship will ensure that the Uni­ver­si­ty is able to pro­mote and dis­sem­i­nate knowl­edge of con­tem­po­rary Japan to the next gen­er­a­tion of lead­ers, espe­cial­ly impor­tant dur­ing this time of dra­mat­ic change.”

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Pro­fes­sor Louis Pauly
Chair, Depart­ment of Polit­i­cal Sci­ence
Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to

Pro­fes­sor Stephen Toope
Direc­tor, Munk School of Glob­al Affairs
Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to

Diana Kuprel
Direc­tor, Advance­ment Com­mu­ni­ca­tions
Fac­ul­ty of Arts & Sci­ence

Rui Umeza­wa
Chief Advi­sor to the Con­sul Gen­er­al
Con­sulate Gen­er­al of Japan