Meetings with leading Japanese and Irish business figures Building on Taoiseach’s visit last December Developing strong links with Japanese universities
Strengthening cultural links between Ireland and Japan
Minister Frances Fitzgerald T.D visited Japan from 15th-21st of March to
join the St. Patrick’s Day celebrations and enhance trade, investment and
cultural links with Ireland.
Speaking of her visit to the world’s third largest economy, the Minister
said: “Building on the Taoiseach's visit to Japan last December, I believe
that my visit has helped to strengthen further the links between our two
“While there I impressed on the Ministers and business people the progress
of our economic recovery and the potential for developing trade and
investment ties. I also highlighted the attractions of Ireland as a
destination for Japanese students and tourists.”
Regarding her meetings with the Irish community in Japan she added:
“I was delighted to meet such a large and active Irish community in Japan
and I was impressed by the level of interest in Irish music, dance and
culture that I found. The work that the Irish community are doing to
promote business and cultural links between Ireland and Japan is a vital
part of the growing ties between our two countries.”
During the visit to Japan, Minister Fitzgerald attended over 20 official
events. Details of the major events are set out below.
St. Patrick’s Day Parades
The Minister attended two St. Patrick’s Day parades in Tokyo and Yokohama
as well as a St. Patrick’s Day festival in Kyoto. All together these events
had more than 1,400 participants and were watched by over 20,000 people.
Irish Community and cultural events
The Minister attended the annual Emerald Ball where she joined the wife of
Prime Minster Abe and Her Imperial Highness Princess Takamado as the guests
of honour. This event is a celebration by the Irish community in Japan and
this year was attended by 305 people.
The Minster attended the first “I Love Ireland” Festival in Tokyo. There
she addressed a crowd of around 2,500 people and visited the booths
promoting Irish culture and business. The Minister then visited the various
organisations at the festival including several companies selling Irish
products, the Tokyo GAA exhibition area and the Irish Government booth.
Although this was the first year of the festival it was attended by between
15,000 and 20,000 people.
Business meetings and events
During her visit Minister Fitzgerald met with a number of IDA clients
including Fujitsu Labs and Fujikin. She also met with Enterprise Ireland
client companies doing business in Japan including Cornes and Red Mills.
Minister Fitzgerald attended St. Patrick’s Day events organised jointly by
the Embassy, Enterprise Ireland, IDA Ireland and Bord Bía in Tokyo, Sapporo
and Osaka. There she met with representatives of the Irish business
community in Japan as well as senior Japanese business people with
connections to Ireland.
The Minister also met with Hokkaido University who are developing strong
links with Ireland and with ISES Japan a company who bring second level
students to Ireland for language and cultural exchange.
On the political front, Minister Fitzgerald had meetings with Minister for
Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Hakubun Shimomura,
Minister of State with responsibility for children Masako Mori,
representatives of the Japan Ireland Parliamentary Friendship League, the
Vice Governor of Osaka prefecture and the Mayor of Sapporo.
Note for Editors:
Japan is Ireland’s 11th largest trading partner with total two way trade in
goods and services worth in excess of €6 billion annually. Trade in goods
was worth over €2.7 billion in 2013 and trade in services in 2012 was worth
The Irish community is Japan is estimated at about 1,200 many of whom are
settled in Japan for over a decade. The Tokyo St Patrick’s Day Parade,
which began in 1990, is the longest running and one of the largest in Asia.