From what I have heard, Japanese companies used to loathe laying off people. I don't know if that is the case anymore as they are forced to compete in a world that has generally become much more ruthless with less loyalty on the side of both employer and employee.
I remember once upon a time when magic was still in the world, IBM never laid off anyone, ever (well, unless for criminal activity and such of course) - changing their policy marked a change in global enterprise behavior.
I guess the Canon personnel in the US or EU don't have rock solid jobs anyway, globalization means global marketing and support with big warehouses shipping the products in ridiculously short times so less local stores are required. The one solid job might be as a technician because things always break.
Btw I always bash Canon marketing, but I wouldn't blame this on the op's friend because the big and bad decisions would be taken in Japan :-o
Last not least, maybe this is in connection with the EOS M2 not being marketed in the US, maybe Canon is really trying to cut back on local marketing and distribution costs?