Varies media articles written about K. Ito & Associates Ltd.

JETRO article 1997

Year Established: 1984
Number of Employees: 9
Products: Technical advice and materials for energy efficient homes
Annual Sales: $3.5 million
Export sales to Japan: 3.5 million

K. Ito and Associates provide a different sort of product to Japan. While they do organize shipments of building products such as doors, furniture and windows, they mainly provide Japan with technological advice and know-how about building well-insulated, energy-efficient homes.

"Our concept is to provide the whole scheme of Canadian housing technology," says President Kimi Ito.

In 1984, Ito saw a need in the Japanese market to import some of Canada's building technologies and practices. "In Japan, they pay three times what we pay in Canada for their energy. Canada is very advanced in building energy efficient homes - homes that are airtight with high insulation," says Ito.

The exporting of technology does not end when the homes are designed and built. K. Ito and Associates also provide advice on the installation and proper maintenance of buildings.

K. Ito and Associates became involved with JETRO five years ago to help expand their business in Japan. Since that time, JETRO has helped Ito and many of his clients financially by subsidizing an import housing display. "That display has been very helpful," says Ito. "It is still standing today and draws a lot of crowds and attention.

It's company and clients also participated in the Canada Comfort Direct exhibit, a traveling trade show put together by the BC Trade Office and supported by JETRO. Additionally, Ito notes that the JETRO seminars on Japanese culture and business are extremely useful.

The company has been very successful in the Japanese market. Ito himself is in high demand as an expert on building technology and was invited by JETRO to be its keynote speaker at a seminar. He also writes articles for various Japanese publications, and is nominated for a local Vancouver Entrepreneur of the Year award.

Ito advises Canadian companies seeking to do business in Japan to learn more about the culture. "In Japan, culture is involved in their business. To learn the business culture is not an easy task, but you learn a lot going over there," says Ito.

"JETRO also sends a lot of delegates to Canada," adds Ito. "And since they are government-owned, JETRO is a huge endorsement for Canadian companies."

The future for K. Ito and Associates in the Japanese market is quite good. They are planning to expand their business by studying and upgrading new housing technology which they can forward to Japan. "In 1996, Japan built 1.6 million units of houses," says Ito. "There is good potential to grow."

Natural Resources Canada article 1999


OTTAWA - Everything from Canadian lighting and floors, to paint and drywall, to carpet and windows - and yes, the kitchen sink too - is finding its way into new energy-efficient Japanese homes.

The first-ever Japanese home built under Natural Resources Canada's Super E Program was unveiled today in Sapporo, Japan. Canadian and Japanese dignitaries and members of the public attended the official opening.

The Super E Program introduces Japanese importers to Canada's best housing technologies and building practices. Super E homes are more energy efficient and environmentally responsible than conventionally constructed homes. They are also healthier to live in and competitively priced.

"The Super E houses use 20 to 30 percent less energy for heating than the average Japanese house built today - helping to reduce carbon dioxide emissions," said Natural Resources Minister Ralph Goodale. "We are excited about the Super E Program. It has obvious environmental and economic benefits, and it strengthens Canada's position as a leading supplier to the Japanese home-building industry."

"Super E has been responsible for the growth of this market and is keeping many Canadian companies busy," noted Kimi Ito, President of K. Ito and Associates, one of the builders. "This project alone will bring millions of dollars into Canada and create employment opportunities for numerous Canadian companies."

This Program demonstrates Canada's support of internationally competitive small and medium sized enterprises. Japan is already Canada's largest overseas customer for manufactured housing and buildings products. This Program reaffirms Canada's ability to meet the growing international demand for energy-efficient building materials.

NRCan has joined forces with two builders, Vancouver's K. Ito and Associates and Japan's Tsuchiya TwoBy Homes, to construct the first Super E house using products from Canadian companies. Tsuchiya TwoBy Homes, anticipates that more than 50 houses will be constructed in Sapporo over the next year.

Masatoshi Kudo, a representative from Tsuchiya TwoBy Homes, said that, because of the success of Super E in Sapporo, Tsuchiya plans to expand the Program and begin construction in Tokyo later this year.

With two more proposals already being negotiated and a number of inquiries flowing in from both Japanese and Canadian companies, future contracts from Japan are highly likely, and will help ensure that the demand for Canadian energy-efficient technologies and products remains high.

Office of the Premier article 1999


VANCOUVER Premier Dan Miller and more than 40 B.C. business representatives returned today from the week-long Team Canada trade mission to Japan.

During the mission, Miller and Team B.C. members met with key Japanese business leaders and government officials to explore opportunities for enhanced trade and new investment partnerships.

"B.C. has a history of close economic and cultural ties with Japan dating back more than a century," Miller said. "This mission provided a well-timed opportunity to reaffirm those links and to help B.C. businesses seize the new opportunities emerging as the Japanese economy begins to show some signs of recovery."

Miller noted that B.C. delegates concluded agreements valued at more than $30 million with Japanese partners in the technology, building products and education sectors.

"The agreements signed on this mission highlight the new opportunities available in Japan and show confidence in the diversity and quality of products and services B.C. has to offer world markets," Miller said. "This week we helped lay the foundation for a broader and more prosperous trade relationship with Japan that will support economic growth here in B.C."

During the mission, Canip Holdings Corp. of Victoria signed a $15-million agreement with Hokuto Corp. of Tokyo to promote high-tech software products to Japanese manufacturers, resellers and venture businesses.

Kelsan Technologies Corp. of North Vancouver signed a $10-million letter of intent with Sumitomo Metal Technology (SMT) and Sumitomo Corp. of Osaka to appoint SMT as the exclusive distributor of Kelsan's lubricants and friction modifiers for the Japanese railway industry.

A $5.4-million letter of intent was also signed by K. Ito and Associates of Vancouver and Tsuchiya Two-By Homes of Sapporo to import and promote the Super E House Program.

A memorandum of understanding was signed by Divelink International Technologies of Victoria and Marine Star Rays of Osaka to promote and distribute products in the Japanese diving market.

Vancouver Maple Leaf Language College signed a memorandum of understanding with JTB Global Education of Tokyo to provide English language training and cultural exchange opportunities for Japanese youth.

Viceroy Homes Ltd., an Ontario-based manufacturer of wood-framed homes and building products with a factory in Richmond, also signed a two-year agreement valued at $100 million with Selco Home Co. Ltd. of Sendai to distribute Viceroy's products to Japanese customers.

Japan is B.C.'s second-largest export market, accounting for $4.5 billion of the province's exports in 1998. Sixty-seven per cent of B.C.'s exports to Asia went to Japan in 1998, and B.C. accounts for more than half of all Canadian exports to Japan.

Canada - Japan Trade Mission
Tokyo, Japan 1999
Mr. M. Kudo, Mr. T. Nakanishi, Prime Minister Jean Chretien, Mr. Kimi Ito, Premier Dan Miller

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