2024 Election Nominees

Candidate Profiles for CCCJ Board of Governors 2024-2026 Term

The following 12 candidates have been nominated for election:

 

  • Sujit Bedi
  • Nicolas Chow Chin Sung
  • Tomoko Ebine
  • Kazuki Fujisawa
  • Jon Heese
  • Christian Howes
  • Kayo Ito
  • Ai Nakagawa
  • Asa Nakano
  • Seiji Omote
  • Greg Rozitis
  • Kazuma Ueda

The online voting platform will be sent to members in good standing at 9AM on Monday, June 17th and will open for 1 week, until 5PM on Tuesday, June 25th.

The results will be announced at the Annual General Meeting which will take place on Friday, June 28th at The Embassy of Canada to Japan. To register for the AGM, please visit: https://www.cccj.or.jp/events/annual-general-meeting-2024

Governor

Christian Howes

The Canada-Japan relationship has been a central part of my life since childhood.  My father’s work as a professor of Japanese history at UBC lead to me spending several years in Japanese schools.  This was followed by a degree in Asian Studies and many summers as a tour guide for Japanese visitors to BC and Alberta.   As a new graduate, I had the opportunity to represent Canada in Japan while working at the Expo85 in Tsukuba.

This was followed by several years as a consultant helping Canadian companies access the Japanese market.

For 30 years I represented Japan in the world of international investments.  Advising a broad range of Japanese corporations as they raised capital and expanded globally was a fascinating challenge. 

I have been active in the CCCJ for most of the 20+ years I have lived in Japan.   It continues to be an amazing, accessible organization that punches above its weight at the center of the Canada-Japan relationship.  Some of my key Chamber leadership roles include head of the events committee, membership, CSR, and our Team Canada efforts for the Rugby World Cup/Olympics.  In 2022 I became the representative of Ontario in Japan.  My team and I focus on investments by Japanese companies into Canada such as the recent $15 billion announcement by Honda to build electric vehicles and batteries in Ontario.  As a governor I will support Japanese investment in Canada as well as focus on opportunities for smaller Canadian companies and younger Canadians to realize their full potential in Japan. 

Kayo Ito

Watch Kayo Ito's election video here

Hello CCCJ members!
 
My name is Kayo Ito and it has been a pleasure to serve you as Governor on the CCCJ Board over the last two years.  I am grateful for all the experience and learnings I have gained through serving on the Board and for the close relations I have been able to forge with my wonderful fellow board members.
 
As a Tokyo-born, Saskatchewan (Saskatoon!) raised girl from the prairies, working in global sales at a very large Japanese technology corporation (NTT Data, Inc.), the CCCJ has been a great place to channel my energy.  With the geopolitical landscape as it is today, I believe the Canada-Japan relationship is so important to both countries, and the work that the CCCJ does to bring the business communities of Canada and Japan together on the ground is a key element of the success of this relationship.  I am also passionate about the role of technology in improving our lives, and how both countries – with their very different circumstances – can take advantage of new and innovative technology coming out of both countries to enrich our societies.
 
Currently I am on an overseas assignment based in London, but through my business travels back and forth to Japan I have been able to join major CCCJ events like the Gala in December, and the occasional board meeting in person.  On a daily basis, I am focusing on contributing to the CCCJ/board through activities that can be done remotely such as planning an engagement program to keep our Sustaining/Corporate members more informed of our wide range activities and advising on events related to Global Diversity Management, of which I am serving as co-chair, and I hope to be able to continue these activities.
 
I hope that you will allow me to continue serving you as part of the Board and I look forward to meeting/interacting with you in the near future.
 
Kayo Ito

Ai Nakagawa

Born in Japan and raised in Vancouver, British Columbia, I have been living in Japan for over 20 years.
It has been an honour to serve on the CCCJ Board of Governors for the last four years, and I hope to continue supporting the Canada-Japan business community for the 2024-2026 term.

If re-elected I will continue to focus on three key areas:

  1. Creating valuable business development opportunities for members.
  2. Increasing memberships and sponsorships.
  3. Strengthening collaboration with other chambers and building strategic partnerships with business organizations.

I believe that building a stronger Canada-Japan relationship is driven by engagement. Over the last two terms I have been actively involved in the Real Estate Committee, Elections Committee, Membership Committee and helped coordinate various business seminars and networking events for the CCCJ.
Examples of my engagement include creating the Real Estate Committee in CCCJ to support the relocation of the office to an easily accessible area with enhanced facilities and building amenities to create an environment to maximize collaboration and networking among the business community. Other initiatives include planning events to promote start-ups and entrepreneurship and initiating outreach programs to increase membership and supporting existing members.
For the last two decades, my career has been in the real estate, hospitality and technology sectors, specializing in sales, marketing and management functions. I currently lead the Tenant Advisory Department for a global commercial real estate advisory firm where I help start-ups to Fortune Global 500 companies with commercial real estate requirements in Japan and globally.
 
With my understanding of Canadian and Japanese business practices and cultural nuances, I hope to be a bridge to connect the business community together.

Asa Nakano

Watch Asa Nakano's election video here

I am a CEO of an import company called ADRIA INTERNATIONAL Co., Ltd., and I have been in this business for 15 years.

I was born in Yokohama, Japan and spent the first 15 years of my life here. After finishing junior high school, I moved to Victoria BC where I went to high school, college and university. I graduated from University of Victoria with my BA in Philosophy with honours. 

I then moved to Australia to join a Master’s program at Australian National University in International Relations. While I was studying at ANU, I had an opportunity to work as an intern at the UNHCR pacific regional office. As my focus in international relations was on activities and influence of the “third sector” organizations, I travelled to Sri Lanka to do some research on the NGO/NPO activities in the Banda Aceh tsunami struck areas after receiving my MAfrom ANU.

I returned to Japan in 2005, and spent a few months working for an international outsourcing company in Tokyo before moving to Okinawa. In Okinawa, I opened a branch of our company and my career as a trader has begun. Although this seemed to be a career path that was far from my initial intent of working in the “third sector”, I quickly learned the importance of commerce in the context of international relations. 

As I have always wanted to regain my connection with Canada, I have decided to branch out our business to Canada, not only in trade, but also in the realm of education. 

Although I am a new member of the CCCJ, I am very impressed and inspired by its diversity of the members and the enthusiasm. It would be such an honour to be a board member of this great organization so that I can make my contributions by bringing in a new perspective as a small international business representative, multi-cultural individual, backed up by my aspiration to strengthen the ties between Canada and Japan. 

Seiji Omote

Watch Seiji Omote's election video here

My name is Seiji Omote, who is one of Governors and HBAs of CCCJ.

I have been doing governor function last 3 years and would like to carry on this another term. Through this function, I find CCCJ is becoming more and more important for facilitating business opportunities over Japan and Canada as well as other countries, because business world is expanding more on global basis and someone needs to consolidate closer global networking and relationship.

CCCJ is good-positioned in this function and I would like to  contribute to this objective as a governor. Especially I am keen to bridge Japan and Canada, who have different cultural background, language, behavior, way of thinking etc, which l learned through my experience in forestry products from Canadian forests by introducing (marketing/selling) to Japanese customers across the country over last several decades.

CCCJ are supported by quite a few membership owners in various categories, and would like to communicate with them more closely so that we can be updated quite regularly, and expand its membership base across the industries.

Greg Rozitis

Watch Greg Rozitis's election video here

I am an Independent Business Development Professional with a focus on developing Japanese & Canadian markets.   Much of my work has focused on developing new markets for technologies, products, and applications on both sides of the Pacific. 

After completing my undergraduate degree in Economics at UBC in 1991, I was recruited to be the head coach of Kansai University’s ice hockey team in Osaka, where I continued my studies at the Faculty of International Commerce.   In 1993, I started my business career when I initiated a market entry initiative alongside the BC Government Trade Office in Kobe. It was during this period that I first connected with past and present members of the current CCCJ. 

Over the next 30 years, I continued forming strong relationships with Japanese and Canadian government organizations and commercial enterprises with my work in Japanese corporations and as a self-employed consultant.  

I have been involved with the CCCJ over the years helping organize several energy related events and I am currently leading the Chamber's Energy Committee.  We are actively planning a series of events which we kicked off with a successful start this past March.

As a former professional hockey player, I understand the importance of being a team player and leading by example.  The Chamber is volunteer driven and having team players on the board who bring forth fun and interesting initiatives, is vital for the growth of the Chamber.   I have been involved and enjoyed volunteering with organizations such as the Canada-Japan Society of British Columbia to help promote the cultural and commercial ties between our countries.

Currently, I am based in Tokyo as a representative of the Invest Alberta Corporation.  Invest Alberta is a crown corporation of the province of Alberta which promotes investment into Canada. My current position enables me to engage with both Japanese and Canadian corporations and to speak with them about the benefits of becoming members of and getting involved with the CCCJ.

I am honored and excited to considered to be elected as one of the Governors at this year's elections!

Kazuma Ueda

Currently, I represent two consumer brands from Canada, Nanoleaf and the Canadian Down & Feather Company. I am the Founder and CEO of Exlimify, a brand portfolio company focusing on lifestyle premium consumer products. Throughout my career, I have collaborated with Canadian individuals and brands. Now, it’s time for me to bring value to both Canada and Japan.

I was born and raised in Japan and did not speak English until I was 19. I had to return to Japan during my junior year at the University of Washington due to changes in my family’s financial situation. I began my career in a family business that specialized in importing and exporting consumer brands, aiming to become a successful entrepreneur like the business owner. A pivotal connection in my career was meeting the son of this business owner during my time at the University of Washington. Two years later, I transitioned to a global cosmetic company, L’Occitane, where I spent three years in marketing. My areas of expertise include Business Development, E-Commerce, and Marketing.

As a governor, my goal is to encourage the next generation to engage with businesses and activities that can nurture the relationship between Canada and Japan, much like I have.

Sujit Bedi

Watch Sujit Bedi's election video here

I am honoured to be running for one of the open Board of Governors positions with the CCCJ. I grew up in several places across Canada but consider Vancouver home, despite living in Yokohama for the better part since 1991. I graduated from UBC, and also did my MBA in McGill’s MBA Japan Programme and was among the first class to graduate. I first came to Japan in 1984 on the Lion’s Club youth summer exchange and fell in love with Japan. Also, I was heavily involved in the UBC Japan Exchange Club, so my activities in bridging Japan and Canada can be traced back to my undergrad days. Most of my career has been in medical devices, working at either a regional or global level in what I would consider strategic or marketing roles focusing on expansion. Post-peak-Covid, I switched industries and now work for Epiq, which is an alternative legal solution provider, as their APAC Marketing Manager and recently added Canada to my purview.

I joined the chamber two years ago, after also deciding on another change, stepping down from leadership of the McGill Alumni Association of Japan, thinking it was best to allow the next generation to take the helm. Knowing some of the members inspired me to shift my energy to supporting the CCCJ. Aside from people I knew, I have gotten to know more through the events I have joined. I was truly impressed with the positive spirit among members and is mainly run by volunteers, which impressed and motivated me to give back and support JC.

My goal is to support the mandates and initiatives that drive the CCCJ board of governors. I hope to leverage my knowledge and experience to add value to expanding the CCCJ role in bridging the Canadian and Japanese commercial communities.

Nicolas Chow Chin Sung

You can call me Nico! I'm a Canadian robotics engineer from Montreal, Québec, and I've been a member of the CCCJ since 2018, and served as a governor from 2020-22.

I moved to Japan in 2018 to advance my career in robotics. At the same time, I was finishing my MBA with McGill at the Tokyo campus. I have worked my whole career at various startups and in different industries, and now find myself on a new journey building robots to provide services in Earth orbit; mainly cleaning up space debris.

It's an honour to be considered again for another term as governor!

Tomoko Ebine

Watch Tomoko Ebine's election video here

My name is Tomoko Ebine. 

I have been working at Mitsui & Co., Ltd., a Japanese trading company, since I graduated from Tsuda University in Japan. 

Although I have worked at Mitsui & Co. throughout my career, I have been fortunate to gain experience in various fields such as Corporate Planning, where I was involved in Canadian liaison work and executive support. I have also worked in Global Environment, Integrated Digital Strategy, Finance, Internal Auditing, and as Secretary & Assistant to the Board. I am currently assigned to Mitsui & Co. Global Strategic Studies Institute (MGSSI) for the second time, where I support business headquarters through foresight consulting and global intelligence research.

I am interested in and wish to contribute to the activities between Canada and Japan through CCCJ, particularly in the fields of women’s inclusion and education. I hold a certification as an English teacher for junior high and high school and have a daughter. My experience as a woman and mother working in a traditional Japanese company has given me a unique perspective.

I believe another mission of mine is to promote the great aspects of Canada to my colleagues and friends. Based on my experience, many Japanese people have a good impression of Canada. They see it as a G7 country where English is spoken, making it a favorable place for their children to study. Additionally, Canada is known for its beautiful nature, high quality of life, and strong healthcare system. “Anne of Green Gables" is popular among Japanese women, and Canada is perceived as a safe, peaceful country. It is also a leader in AI and technology, attracting major companies and talent. Even British royalty have chosen to live in Canada, further enhancing its appeal.

I would like to bring my Japanese colleagues and friends to get to know Canada better and create a more powerful community between Canada and Japan.

Kazuki Fujisawa

Watch Kazuki Fujisawa's election video here

皆様お世話になっております。

藤澤 和樹と申します。

Hello/Bonjour everyone.

It has been a great honour to be actively involved or the CCCJ and organizing events which included the 2023 Renaissance Gala, Hackathon Event, Canadian Universities Alumni Mixer, and the CPTPP Cup 2025 as the Events Committee Chair. With the support from the board of governors and Noriko, it has been a great opportunity. In addition, I would like to thank the members for coming to the events and will continue to make CCCJ as a thriving organization as a bridge to connect Japan and Canada. 
 
About myself, I am Japanese, and I have lived overseas mainly in Canada, the US, and Europe. As living in Canada for over 5 years, my career began in Toronto, which involved connecting Japan and Canada at an ESL school and currently working for Steelcase as a Dealer Business Manager for the Learning sector, winning and securing several projects including major international schools the Yokohama International School and the Canadian Academy in Kobe to name a few.
Multilingual in fluent in English, Japanese, and French, I have been involved in the Education Committee, Real Estate Committee, and the Gala Committee on top of the Events Committee.
 
As a governor, I would like to diversify the members by bringing in more members to not only Canadian companies but also to Japanese individuals and corporations who would like to expand into Canada as well. In addition, by using my experience as the Events Committee Chair, I will support future events by proactively getting involved and make CCCJ a sustainable organization by attracting young professionals.

何卒よろしくお願いいたします。

Thank you/Merci

Jon Heese

Watch Jon Heese's election video here

I’m a first-term Ibaraki Prefecture Councillor (like an MLA or MPP) representing Tsukuba, Ibaraki. I began my political career in the Tsukuba City Council in 2008, serving 4 terms. 

I grew up just outside Swift Current, Saskatchewan. Age 8, my father’s study brought my family to the United States. We returned two years later with a heightened sense of Canadian pride. In 1980, I spent 3 months in Germany on a high-school student exchange. Before entering the University of Regina, where I received a BMusEd, I returned to Europe to polish my German skills (Mein Deutsch ist immer noch ziemlich gut), as well as brush up my French (J'ai le regret de dire que mon français est toujours aussi mauvai). During university, I also studied Russian in the Soviet Union (Мой русский очень плохo), followed by time in the UK.

After arriving in Japan in 1991, I taught English privately and in the public school system. In 1997, I opened a bar that helped bridge the Japanese and foreign communities. In 1998, I founded Imagineric YK to serve the research community by importing specialized equipment, hardware & software, as well as providing rewriting and translation services for non-native English speakers.

As a governor of the CCCJ, I will continue to build bridges between the vibrant Canadian community and host Japanese, introducing members to the government and private sectors. If I have a strength it’s my ability to connect others, locally and internationally. My elected position entails meeting hundreds of people a year—essential for bringing people together.  I sincerely look forward to serving the CCCJ.