Canada's independent recording companies are heading to Japan in November for a trade mission that will see some of the country's top acts play for Japanese industry leaders.

The trade mission, which is being undertaken in association with the Canadian Embassy in Tokyo and is considered the first of its kind, will take place for five days starting Nov. 5.

"The key to the growth of the independent music sector in Ontario and Canada will be the ongoing development of export opportunities outside of North America, and particularly in the growing Asian markets," says Duncan McKie, chief executive of the Canadian Independent Record Production Association. "The Music Mission to Japan is a first step towards that goal."

The objectives of the trade mission are to assist Canadian companies in forging new relationships in the Japanese market, to build new contacts and create new business opportunities for the export of Canadian music, CIRPA says.

Artists that are part of Canada's independent music scene, including Montreal's Stars and Arcade Fire, as well as Toronto's Feist and Broken Social Scene, have garnered tremendous exposure domestically and on the international scene in the past few years.

In turn, companies like Arts & Crafts, Nettwerk and others have handled some of the top Canadian artists and gained international awareness for Canada's thriving independent music scene.

CIRPA is a lobby group that represents English-language independent record producers, record labels, recording studios, artist managers, distributors, music publishers and music publicists.

CIRPA said Japan is a natural for such a trade mission given the country is the second largest music market in the world. The artists and recording companies heading to Japan for the trade mission will be determined in September, McKie says.