President of the BoardSara COUTURE
Lawyer BCF Business Law
Sara Couture is a lawyer specializing in business law particularly in commercial and corporate law, with a focus in privacy and data protection. In addition to her work with BCF, Sara Couture is the co-founder of Tokusen Imports which specializes in the import of high quality Japanese artisan products, including artisanal soy sauce from Shiga, a prefecture where she lived for two years.
She graduated from Laval University with a degree in International Studies and Modern Languages, and from Université de Montréal with a degree in Law. Between her studies, she spent two years teaching in Japan through the Japan Exchange and Teaching Programme where she was introduced to Japanese tea ceremony. Since her return to Canada, she has been involved in the Japanese cultural community as the Vice-President, in 2018, and President, in 2019, of the Japan Exchange and Teaching Alumni Association. She remains an avid tea practitioner and member of the Montreal Association of Chado Urasenke Tankokai.
Treasurer of the CouncilSamuel LAURIN
Samuel Laurin is the co-founder of Tokusen Imports, a company specializing in the import of high-quality Japanese food products, and a project manager specialized in ERP implementations at Projexia. Samuel holds a bachelor’s degree in international business from HEC Montreal and an M.B.A. in Management from Laval University.
As part of his studies and during his professional career in the field of humanitarian aid, Samuel has lived in nearly ten countries including Brazil, Spain, Vietnam and Japan. In between his university studies, Samuel spent a year teaching English as a second language in a high school in Mie Prefecture, Japan as part of the JET Program. Since his return to Canada, he has remained involved with the Japanese cultural community, wanting to maintain strong ties with Japan.
Today, Samuel hopes to build stronger bridges between Canada and Japan through his import company and his participation in the Quebec-Japan Business Forum.
Member of the BoardToshiharu TARUI
Consulate General of Japan in Montreal
April 1990: Entered the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA)
June 1993: Third Secretary, Embassy of Japan, Antananarivo, Madagascar
July 1996: Second Secretary, Embassy of Japan, Paris, France
July 1998: Officer, First Africa Division, MOFA
July 2000: Officer, Fishery Division, MOFA
April 2003: Second Secretary, Japanese Delegation to the UN, NY, U.S.A
July 2005: Second Secretary, Embassy of Japan, Antananarivo, Madagascar
December 2007: First Secretary, Embassy of Japan, Luxembourg, Luxembourg
June 2011: Deputy Director, Western Europe Division, MOFA
September 2013: Deputy Director, Country Assistance Planning Division III, MOFA
October 2016: Principal Deputy Director, Non- Government Organizations, Cooperation Division, MOFA
September 2018: Principal Deputy Director, Cultural Affairs and Overseas, Public Relations Division, MOFA
March 2020: Deputy Consul General, Consulate General of Japan in Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Member of the BoardUri PIZARRO
CLC Canada Language School
After participating in the Japan Exchange and Teaching Program between 2004 and 2007, Uri Pizarro was appointed administrator system at McGill University upon his return to Japan. In 2010, he joined the CLC Montreal team as a B2B coordinator working with managers and executives to help them maintain international talent.
Member of the BoardCharles-Anica ENDO
President and Chief Executive Officer
Dr. Charles-Anica Endo is CEO of AGY-Endo Corporation and EAM Advanced Materials. He has been working for more than 10 years in the fields of animal feed chemicals and advanced materials. Dr. Endo is best known for his background in nanotechnology. He has been a member of Prima Québec’s Board of Directors for Advanced Materials since 2016.
In his career, Dr. Endo has held various scientific and management positions, including with the Government of Quebec. At the university and graduate level, he has been involved in research and teaching. He has more than 40 publications and scientific conferences to his credit. He also led the Quebec initiative on the impacts of nanotechnologies (Ne3LS Network) for 5 years.
Dr. Endo has been involved in trade and business development for over 10 years in Canada, Asia and Europe where he distributes the products of major corporations including Sumitomo, GE and GSI Creos Corporation. He has also organized more than 18 economic missions to Asia (Japan, South Korea) in nanotechnology and environment. He has also organized more than 10 international conferences and is the initiator of 6 collaborative agreements between Canada and Japan. Dr. Endo was also awarded the 2009 International Collaboration Award by the Association for Nanotechnology Research (NTRA), the Ministry of Knowledge Economy (MKE) and the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MEST), South Korea.
Member of the Board
Expert Advisor – Export and Internationalization
Investissement Québec International
Marie-Michèle Brien supports Quebec companies in their international market development projects within the export support team of Investissement Québec International (formerly Export Québec, the foreign trade unit at the Ministry of the Economy and Innovation). She notably worked on desks in New England, India and South Korea before being appointed in 2020 to the position of Japan/Korea Expert Advisor. She has participated in the organization of several commercial activities and information seminars in several sectors such as transport, information and communication technologies, infrastructure and public markets, natural resources as well as than that of aluminum.
Holder of a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a specialization in accounting sciences from the University of Quebec at Montreal (UQAM), She worked in corporate taxation before making the leap into regional and then international economic development.
Member of the Board
Amine BEN AYED
Amine Ben Ayed (M.Sc) is the Co-founder and COO of Dataperformers, a Montreal based company specialized in applied artificial intelligence. Being one of the official AI providers for the Government of Canada, Dataperformers also works with major clients such as Aisin Seiki (Toyota Group), Autodesk, Transport Canada, World Anti-Doping Agency as well as other major Canadian players such as Desjardins and Invest Quebec.
Before founding Dataperformers, Amine graduated as a Master in Management Science in 2013 and previously obtained his bachelor in computing management. His previous work experience includes IT roles in different countries like Thailand and Tunisia. He was also involved at MTL NewTech, a Montreal based non-profit organisation that supports the startups ecosystem.
Mr Takayanagi is the president of SHIMADZU SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT CANADA INC (SSDC). SSDC is creating innovative and high performance software for medical X-ray systems. Mr Takayanagi was also appointed as the president of Montreal Japanese Association of Commerce and Industry in April 2021.
He obtained a Master’s degree of Engineering from Osaka University. He has been working for SHIMADZU in Japan for nearly 20 years before joining SSDC. He started his career as a software engineer where he developed medical X-ray products. He participated in the development team for the medical device software to provide improved features and usability of Radiography systems. Since 2014, he has been assigned as a project leader and was promoted to be a manager in 2018.
Director – Japan Office
Investissement Québec International
Akira Yamaguchi has been appointed as Investissement Québec International’s next representative in Japan dedicated to attracting Japanese investment to Québec (April 2021). She will be based at the Québec Government Office in Tokyo.
Fluently trilingual in English, French and Japanese, Akira brings over 15 years of experience in international business development in France, Québec and Japan. She has a in-depth knowledge of the Japanese market & Québec-Japan business cultures and a vast network in high-growth sectors such as animation and video games.
Prior to her position at IQI, she has close to a decade of experience as a independent consultant. She coordinated the opening of two branch offices for Japanese video game companies in Montreal, she participated in several official trade missions including the Asia Pacific Foundation First Canada’s first women-only business mission to Japan in 2019.
Akira was a board member and secretary of the Forum for 2 years and was then elected as President for 3 years.
Akira was born and raised in France from Japanese parents. She has lived in Montreal for 11 years and has become a Canadian citizen in 2014.
Desk officer Japan, South-Korea, Oceania
Ministry of International Relations and La Francophonie
Martin Bernard has been acting as an international relations advisor within the Ministry of International Relations and La Francophonie for nearly 15 years, and for 4 years more specifically for Japan, Korea and Oceania, after having covered the mid-American Atlantic, India and Southeast Asia. He works to ensure coordination between the various government actors wishing to develop their relations with those regions. He also collaborates with the Consulate General of Japan, Investissement Québec International and players in the fields of the economy, education and culture: in particular to promote a better understanding of Japan and its potential among the population of Quebec and conversely, better knowledge of Quebec with Japanese partners.
Previously, he worked for 20 years at the Régie des rentes du Québec in social security, also working in Geneva at the International Labor Office, in addition to carrying out mandates in a dozen countries in Asia, Africa and Central America.
He graduated in actuarial science from Laval University and is an associate of the Society of Actuaries, in addition to holding an MBA in international business management from Laval University.