John Powles

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John Powles (1948 – March 14, 2010) was the Canadian president of the Canada-Japan Society and an important figure within Canadian-Japanese relations for more than 25 years.[1]

John Mark Powles was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, but moved to Yokohama, Japan, early in life.[1] His father and grandfather were Anglican missionaries in Japan during the early 20th century.[1] He spent 18 years living in several different Japanese cities.[1]

He returned to Canada for college and earned a bachelor's degree from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver.[1] Powles took several positions while working for the government of Canada in Japan, beginning with the Canadian pavilion at Expo '70 in Osaka.[1][2] This led to a position with the Canadian Department of Expositions, in which Powles was responsible for all of Canada's international expositions.[2]

Powles became the Director of Asia and Japan Operations for the Council of Forest Industries, based in Tokyo, in 1987.[2] He also received the president of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Japan.[2] The Japanese Ministry of Construction awarded Powles its first honor to a non-Japanese citizen.[2]

British Columbia Premier Gordon Campbell appointed Powles as the head of the Japan Market Advisory Group within the Asia Pacific Trade Council in 2005.[2]

Japanese Emperor Akihito named Powles as a recipient of the Order of the Rising Sun in 2008 for his contributions to bilateral relations between Japan and Canada.[1]

John Powles died at Lions Gate Hospital in Vancouver on March 14, 2010, of pancreatic cancer at the age of 61.[2]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Lee-Young, Joanne (2010-03-16). "John Powles built important ties between Canada and Japan". Vancouver Sun. Archived from the original on March 23, 2010. Retrieved 2010-03-27. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "John Mark Powles, 1948-2010". Canada-Japan Society. 2010-03-16. Retrieved 2010-03-27.