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Archive 2006


Ambassador Hayashi Meets Lord Mayor of Cork, Councillor Michael Ahern
Ambassador and Mrs. Hayashi  and Councillor Michael Ahern

Ambassador Hayashi met with the Lord Mayor of Cork, Councillor Michael Ahern, who assumed the office in last June, at the City Hall in Cork. At the meeting, they exchanged views on a number of topics including the measures to strengthen the ties between Cork and cities in Japan, as well as the possibility of organising events in Cork to celebrate next year's 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Japan and Ireland


Ambassador Hayashi Addressed the Awards Night of Gaelchoáiste Muire in Cork


Ambassador Hayashi giving a speech

Ambassador Hayashi was invited as a guest speaker to the Awards Night of Gaelcholáiste Mhuire in Cork and made a speech entitled "International Perspective". In the speech, Ambassador Hayashi, based on his long experience as a career diplomat, explained the importance  of seeing things from both sides and having a broad mind to try to understand cultural differences to the audience of 400 students and their parents who keenly listened to his speech. 


Lecture by Ambassador Hayashi at University College Dublin (UCD)


Lecture at UCD

On October 20th, Ambassador Hayashi gave a lecture entitled "The Japanese Economy - Current Status and the Implications for East Asia" at the Quinn School of Business at University College Dublin (UCD). The lecture was well attended by around 50 students who enthusiastically took notes. Following the lecture, the students asked a number of questions reflecting their keen interest in the current Japanese economy, which is well back on track, as well as Japan's increasingly growing partnership with East Asian countries.


2006 JET Returnee Welcome Home Reception


Ambassador Hayashi giving a speech                     Ambassador Hayashi, Mr.Horimura (CLAIR of Japan), and members of Kobukai

A Welcome Home Reception was held at the official residence of Ambassador Hayashi in Dublin in honour of former participants of the JET Programme who returned home to Ireland in 2006 and in recent years. Ambassador Hayashi made a speech calling on former JETs to continue their interest in Japan and to promote Japan and Japanese culture as a "cultural ambassador" within Ireland. Members of the Dublin Kendo Kobukai gave lively demonstrations of Kendo and Iaido. The reception was a wonderful opportunity for former JETs to share and relive their experiences of Japan.


2007 JET Programme Promotional Talks

Promotional Talk at Trinity College Dublin

On October 18th, the Embassy of Japan held promotional talks on the JET Programme (The Japan Exchange and Teaching Programme) at Dublin City University and Trinity College Dublin. The JET Programme, which is in its 21st year, is a cultural exchange programme that aims to enhance foreign language education in Japan and to promote international exchange at the community level with programme participants working as ALTs (Assistant Language Teacher) and CIRs (Coordinator for International Relations). For these talk, a delegation from CLAIR (Council of Local Authorities for International Relations) visited Dublin and gave a presentation on the outline of the Programme and how to apply and many interested students attended.


Lecture by Mr. Hitoshi Tanaka, Senior Fellow at Japan Center for International Exchange

Mr. Tanaka, Dr. Slevin and Ambassador Hayashi (from left)

On 10th October, the Embassy of Japan held a lecture at the Royal Irish Academy (RIA) entitled "A Japanese Perspective on East Asia: New Thinking under the New Government" by Mr. Hitoshi Tanaka, Senior Fellow at the Japan Center for International Exchange and a former Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan. In his lecture, Mr. Tanaka presented an analysis of the current situation in North Korea and China, as well as his views on the prospects for an East Asian Community, based on his long experience as a career diplomat. He also discussed how Japan and the international community should tackle these issues. As this lecture was held the day immediately after the North Korea's announcement of a nuclear test, a large number of people, including government officials, academics, students and journalists etc., attended with a keen interest in the topic. After the lecture, Mr. Tanaka also had interviews with Irish journalists outlining Japanese perspectives on recent developments in the East Asian region, North Korea among other topics.



Ambassador Hayashi Meets Lord Mayor of Dublin, Councillor Vincent Jackson

Ambassador Hayashi and Lord Mayor Cllr. Jackson

Ambassador Hayashi met the new Lord Mayor of Dublin, Councillor Vincent Jackson, at the Mansion House in Dublin. At the meeting, the Lord Mayor congratulated the Ambassador on the birth of Prince Hisahito. They exchanged views on a number of topics including the current Japanese economy and the situation in the East Asia region. They also talked about the possibility of organising events in Dublin to celebrate next year's 50th anniversary of establishment of diplomatic relations between Japan and Ireland, as well as the need to study strengthening the ties between Dublin and cities in Japan.


Lecture and Tasting to Appreciate Japanese Sake


Lecture and Tasting in Dublin (Mr. Kuheiji Kuno, centre in both photos)

The Embassy of Japan, together with the Ireland Japan Association (IJA) and other organisation, held a lecture on Japanese Sake (rice wine) in Galway and Dublin as a prt of an introduction to Japanese culinary culture. We invited Japanese Sake brewer, Mr. Kuheiji Kuno, an executive of a brewery in Nagoya founded in 1647, to give a lecture on the history, production process and classification of Japanese Sake to restauranteurs, food critics, journalists and Irish people interested in Japanese culture. At the tasting of Japanese Sake,the guests had a chance to appreciate its bouquest and flabour, and we received very encouraging comments even from those who had never enjoyed Sake before. Recently, people can enjoy various types of food in Ireland, but it will probably be some time before we see Irish people enjoy Japanese food and Sake on a broader basis. Therefore, our embassy would like to continue its efforts to introduce Japanese culinary culture, in cooperation with supporters on both the Japanese and Irish sides.


Izumo City Football Team's Visit to Ireland


The Izumo City Football Team, with a delegation from Izumo City and the members of the Izumo-Ireland Friendship Club,  visited Ireland at the  invitation of St. Joseph's Boys AFC in Dublin. Since Izumo City played host to the Irish national team in the 2002 Japan-Korea World Cup, Izumo City, the Football Association of Ireland (FAI), and St. Joseph's Boys AFC have continued to promote mutual sports/cultural exchanges, including reciprocal visits. Ambassador Keiichi Hayashi joined the welcome reception hosted by Castleknock Celtic which is based in the north of Dublin and enjoyed talking with the players and coaches of the Izumo City Football Team on August 17. The delegation from Izumo City and members of the Izumo-Ireland Friendship Club also paid a courtesy call on the Embassy of Japan the next day, and explained to the Ambassador about the "Irish Week" and other Ireland-related activities organised in the city. The Izumo City Football Team took part in the "Hibernia Trophy International Invitational Tournament" (contested by eight teams from Japan, Holland, and Ireland) on August 19 and 20, and played matches against the FAI Development Squad and others.   


Conferment Ceremony of the Foreign Minister's Award on Mrs. Yoshiko Ushioda

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan announced early July that Mrs. Yoshiko Ushioda, former curator of the Chester Beatty Library, was selected for the 2006 Foreign Minister's Award, and the conferment ceremony recently took place at the Japanese Ambassador's residence in Dublin. The ceremony was attended by a large number of guests including Dr. Michael Ryan, current director of the Chester Beatty Library, where Mrs. Ushioda worked for many years, and former chairpersons of the Ireland Japan Association (IJA), of which Mrs. Ushioda was a founding member. Mr. Masao Akamatsu, Senior Vice Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare, who was visiting Dublin, also attended the ceremony. At the ceremony, Ambassador Hayashi spoke of Mrs. Ushioda's various meritorious achievements, and presented the certificate of the Foreign Minister's Award, in which Foreign Minister Taro Aso expresses admiration for her outstanding contribution to the friendship and goodwill between Japan and Ireland through promotion of Japanese culture.


2006 JET Programme Pre-Departure Orientation 


JET Participants at the pre-departure orientation

 The JET Programme, which enables Japanese local authorities to employ young foreign people for the purpose of improving foreign language education as well as promoting international exchange at the community level, celebrates the 20th anniversary since its inception this year. There are 55 Irish participants in the JET Programme this year, and they will go to work and live in 28 different prefectures across Japan. A pre-departure orientation was held for them on 15 July at the Ambassador's residence in Dublin, which included presentations on the role of the JET and some basic instruction on coping with the Japanese way of life and so on. The JET participants also had a chance to generate a sense of solidarity as an Irish JETs at the farewell reception which was hosted by Ambassador Keiichi Hayashi.


Lafcadio Hearn Colloquium in Tramore 

The Tramore Lafcadio Hearn Society sponsored the First Annual Colloquium on July 14. Lafcadio Hearn, known as Yakumo Koizumi (his Japanese name) in Japan, often visited Tramore in his childhood. Approximately forty local people attended the interesting colloquium, which was officially opened by Cllr. Ann-Marie Power, Mayor of Tramore. Mr. John Moran of the Irish Times, who is also an expert on Lafcadio Hearn, and Pat Rabbitte, T.D., Labour Party leader, gave presentations on the life and work of Lafcadio Hearn and  on the emerging issue of immigration facing Ireland respectively.     


Japanese Foreign Minister's Award for Mrs. Yoshiko Ushioda, Former Curator of Chester Beatty Library of Dublin 

Mrs. Yoshiko Ushioda

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan has announced that Mrs. Yoshiko Ushioda, former curator of the Chester Beatty Library of Dublin, is to be presented with the Foreign Minister's Award in recognition of her meritorious contribution to the promotion of friendly relations between Japan and Ireland. In particular, the award recognises her outstanding role in introducing Japanese culture to the Irish people through such activities as her recording, categorising and restoration of the historically valuable collection of Japanese paintings owned by the Chester Beatty Library. Mrs. Ushioda, who is a pioneer Japanese resident in Ireland, has also long rendered great services to the furtherance of bilateral exchanges in a wide variety of fields, including her efforts to establish the Ireland Japan Association (IJA) and the Japanese Language Saturday School in Dublin.


Panel Exhibition of Japanese Garden by Ms. Tenno


H.E. A. Pung, Ambassador of Estonia , Ms. Tenno and Ambassador Hayashi

A photo exhibition on Japanese gardens by prominent Estonian photographer Ms. Ann Tenno is currently being held in the Oscar Wilde House in Dublin. Ms. Tenno has taken photographs focusing on gardens in various parts of the world, including the beautiful scenery of her native Estonia, and has held exhibitions in several countries. She has also published a number of collections of photographs including Japanese Garden . Ms. Tenno, who is currently visiting Ireland from Estonia for the opening of the exhibition, says that she very much enjoyed touring Japan to take photographs, and that despite not understanding Japanese at all, she managed to communicate very well with the local people she met. This exhibition in Dublin was made possible because the Embassy of Estonia and our embassy shared the view that it would be a wonderful idea to introduce Irish people to the beauty of Japanese gardens as viewed by renowned photographer Ms. Tenno. Visitors to the exhibition can enjoy her photographs on display and also in her book Japanese Garden.



Lecture by Mr. Koike, President of Nikkei Europe

Mr. Koike and members of the audience

The Embassy of Japan, the Ireland Japan Association (IJA) and the Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO) co-organised a lecture entitled "Dynamism in East Asia, An Illusion or a Reality" by Mr. Hirotsugu Koike, President of Nikkei Europe (London), on Monday 26 June at the AIB Bankcentre in Dublin. Mr. Koike gave a lecture on the present situation of the Asian economy, including such topics as the emergence of China, the recovery of the Japanese economy and the trends in the East Asian economy to an Irish audience including businessmen, journalists and scholars from his viewpoint as a leading international economist. Taking this opportunity, JETRO also gave a presentation entitled "Invest Japan" for Irish companies after the lecture. The Embassy of Japan hopes to organise a series of events to take place on a regular basis in order to strengthen business ties between Japan and Ireland in cooperation with the IJA and other organisations.


Japanese Art Exhibition

Demonstration by Ms. Katori

A Japanese Art Exhibition introducing Japanese ink painting, traditional colour painting and calligraphy has opened at the Oscar Wilde House in Dublin. Ms. Kinsui Katori, chairperson of the International Bokuga Association, who come to Ireland from Tokyo to open the exhibition, gave a wonderful ink painting demonstration of how to draw "bamboo" and "shrimps" in front of a group of distinguished guests on the evening of 7th June. On 8th June, Ms. Katori held introductory ink painting classes for Irish people, and a large number of participants was able to enjoy this rare opportunity. Participants at the demonstration who experimented with creating their won work of art using a Japanese brush said the experience had stimulated their interest in ink painting and that they would like to continue learning if possible. The International Bokuga Association has left a DVD on ink painting methods with the Embassy, and anyone interested in borrowing this DVD is requested to contact the Cultural Section. The exhibition is open to the public at the Oscar Wilde House, One Merrion Square, on weekdays until Thursday 29th June. We hope you will come and visit.



Mr. Yukio Okamoto's Visit to Dublin

Mr Yukio Okamoto, former special advisor to the prime minister, gave a round-table lecture on recent regional situation in Asia at the Institute of European Affairs (IEA) in Dublin. The members of IEA, members of diplomatic corps and those who have interest Japan-Ireland relations participated in it. He also had an interview with the Irish Times that afternoon, and explained about recent Japan-China relations, Japanese economy, and bilateral relations between Japan and Ireland. An article based on this interview was published on 15 May. Mr. Okamoto's lectures and interviews with the Press in Ireland made positive contribution by enhancing understanding of today's Japan among Irish people including the opinion leaders.  


Mr. Yukio Okamoto's Visit to Cork

Lecture at the University College Cork (Right)

Mr. Yukio Okamoto, former special advisor to the prime minister under the Hashimoto Cabinet and the Koizumi Cabinet, visited Ireland from 7 to 12 May. He now runs his own political and economic consultancy Okamoto Associates Inc. He delivered a speech on Japan-Ireland relations at the luncheon hosted by Mr. Alan Crosbie, chairman of Tomas Crosbie Holdings in Cork, his first destination in Ireland, and had discussions with Mr. Micheal Martin, TD, Minister for Enterprise, Trade & Employment, who is planning to visit Japan next month with Irish businessmen, Cllr Deirdre Clune, Lord Mayor of Cork, as well as a number of TDs from Cork region. He also gave a lecture entitled "Japan's Relations with United State and China: Friction and Future Prospects" at the University College Cork (UCC) in the afternoon. His visit to Cork was covered by the Irish Examiner and the Sunday Business Post in the following week.




A seminar Business Opportunities in Japan was held in Galway


Ambassador Hayashi and speakers in the Seminar


On 27 April 2006 , a seminar entitled Business Opportunities in Japan , focused on Japan was held in Galway hosted by Enterprise Ireland . Ambassador Hayashi attended the Seminar and made an opening address with the message that he wished to see the further promotion of Irish trade and investment into Japan, emphasizing the importance of gquality and differentiationh in the Japanese market, which would lead to the further enhancement of the bilateral economic relationship between Japan and Ireland. A number of Irish companies, who have already entered the Japanese market or are now intending to enter it, attended the Seminar. The participants in the Seminar eagerly exchanged views on how best to penetrate the Japanese market.  


Ambassador Hayashi visit to National University of Ireland, Galway  


                   Ambassador Hayashi and President Of Muircheartaigh       Ambassador Hayashi and Mr. Niland, President of Galway Chamber

Ambassador Hayashi visited Galway from 27th to 28th April 2006 . He attended a seminar regarding trade and investment to Japan, and visited National University of Ireland, Galway (NUIG) and Galway Chamber.

In the meeting with the Ambassador on the 27th, Professor OfMuircheartaigh, President of NUIG, which has approximately 15,000 students, said that NUIG is now focusing on the field of medical technologies and applied mathematics, and would like to cooperate with Japan in these fields. Ambassador Hayashi responded that he would also like to work to promote people to people exchange including students and researchers between Japan and Ireland .




Ambassador Hayashi Meets with Professor F. von Prondzynski, President of Dublin City University

Professor F. von Prondzynski (right), Professor J. Williams (left) and Ambassador Hayashi (centre)

On 11 April, Ambassador Hayashi visited Dublin City University (DCU) and had a meeting with DCU Presidents, Professor Ferdinand von Prondzynski, and Professor Jenny Williams, Head of the School of Applied Language and Intercultural Studies (SALIS). At the meeting, Professor von Prondzynski briefed Ambassador Hayashi on the profile of the university and expressed his wish to expand research collaboration with Japanese companies and universities in such areas as information technology and life science. As DCU boasts the longest history of teaching Japanese language among Ireland's universities, Ambassador Hayashi said the Japanese government wishes to continue its effort to promote Japanese language studies further in Ireland in cooperation with DCU. 


Japanese Master Calligraphers Visit Dublin

   The two Masters and Ambassador Hayashi

The Shodo Geijutsu-in (The Association of the Japanese Calligraphy Art) will hold an exhibition in Dublin from March to April 2007 to celebrate the 60th anniversary of its founding. Mr. Syunyo Onchi and Mr. Daiun Tsujimoto, the chairman and a senior member of the Association, visited Ireland at the beginning of this month to make preliminary arrangements for the exhibition. During their stay, they visited the Atrium of the Office of Public Works at St. Stephen's Green, Dublin, the proposed venue for their exhibition, and had a meeting with the officials there. The details of the exhibition will be announced later, and the Embassy will give full supports to the Association for its success.


Ambassador Hayashi's Visit to Waterford

Ambassador Hayashi with Cllr. Hilary Quinlan at Ciy Council (left)    Ambassador Hayashi with Dr. Venie Martin and Ms. Sinead Cooke at WIT (right)

Ambassador Hayashi visited Waterfordon 27 March. He met with Cllr. Hilary Quinlan, Mayor of Waterford, to exchange views on the significance of the Waterford region in the context of strengthening the bilateral relations between Japan and Ireland. Ambassador Hayashi also had a chance to be briefed on the activities of the Waterford Institute of Technology by the Head of the Development Office, Dr. Venie Martin, and the Institute's wish to welcome exchange students from abroad including Japan. Dr. Martin showed Ambassador Hayashi around the modern buildings on the WIT campus.

Ambassador Hayashi also visited Waterford Crystal, internationally renowned for its high quality crystal glassware, which is exported to the U.S., Japan and other countries.  



The 4th JLTI Japanese Speech Contest

One of Contestants                                                            Audience         

The 4th JLTI (Japanese Language Teachers of Ireland) sponsored Japanese Speech Contest was held at the Clock Tower, Department of Education and Science, in Dublin . The 30 contestants were divided into 3 groups according to their experience in Japan and the length of study of Japanese. The judges and audience alike were impressed by the speakersf high level of Japanese proficiency. Thanks to the generous support of Japanese companies, UCD student Ms. Myra Mohar was awarded the 1st prize in Group A (Beginner-Lower Intermediate) for her speech Japanese Memories, and DCU students Mr. Colm Caffrey was awarded the 1st prize in Group B (Intermediate-Advanced) for his speech More than music. Both winners received a return air ticket to Japan . In Group C (Secondary School Category), Mr. Anthony Robinson, Sandford Park School , Dublin , was awarded the 1st prize, and received an electronic dictionary and book voucher.


Ambassador Hayashi Lecture at TCD

Ambassador Hayashi delivered a lecture on Japan and East Asia at the Institute for International Integration Studies (IIIS), TCD. The lecture was sponsored by the Department of Political Science and the IIIS on 10 March. He spoke about the recent developments in the East Asia region including the East Asia Summit, Japan role in the region and Japan-China relations. Professor M. Gallagher, Associate Professor, Department of Political Science, TCD, PhD students studying at TCD and other members of academic staff with a keen interest in international relations attended the lecture.


Ambassador Hayashi Meets Mr. Dick Roche T.D., Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government

Ambassador Hayashi with Mr. Roche

Mr. Dick Roche T.D., Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, will be visiting Japan over this year's St. Patrick's Day period, and Ambassador Hayashi had a meeting with him in his office at Leinster House to discuss his itinerary in Japan. Mr. Roche visited Japan in May 2005 to attendthe 7th ASEM (Asia-Europe Meeting) Foreign Ministers' Meeting in Kyoto, and this is his second visit to Japan.


Study Tour to Ireland by Japanese University Students

Participants of the study tour Fr. D. Doyle and Amb. & Mrs Hayashi

Sophia University in Tokyo organizes a study tour to Ireland for its students every year, and a dozen of this year's participants in the study tour have been visiting Ireland since February. This programme started 20 years ago as a result of the initiative of Irish-born Fr. D. Doyle, Professor Emeritus of Sophia University, who wished Japanese students to experience Irish culture first-hand. Fr. D. Doyle received the decoration "The Order of the Sacred Treasure, Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon" in 2003. for his contribution to the friendly relations between Japan and Ireland. This year's study tour is Fr. Doyle's 19th and the participants also include students from Mie University. During their study tour, they will have the opportunity to visit historic Irish sites, experience Irish cultural heritage and enjoy a home stay with Irish host families, and some members of the group have determined to pursue their Irish studies further after returning to Japan. On 3 March, we welcomed them at the Japanese Ambassador's residence in Dublin and discussed a wide range of topics in a relaxed manner.


Ambassador Hayashi meets with Professor J. G. Hughes, President of NUI Maynooth

On 24 February, Ambassador Hayashi visited the National University of Ireland, Maynooth, the second oldest university institution in Ireland, and paid a courtesy call on Professor J. G. Hughes, the President. At the meeting, Professor Hughes briefed Ambassador Hayashi on the profile of the university and expressed his keenness to expand their international exchange programmes with Japanese counterparts as well as the university willingness to accept more Japanese students. Ambassador Hayashi responded that he would also like to see more student exchanges between Japan and Ireland.




Ambassador Hayashi's visit to UNTSI in Curragh, Co. Kildare

Guard of honour welcoming Ambassador Hayashi on his arrival at UNTSI(left)            Brig Gen Pat O'Sullivan, General Officer C, Col C, O'Boyle, School C, and Ambassador Hayashi(right)

Ambassador Hayashi visited the United Nations Training School Ireland (UNTSI) in Curragh, Co. Kildare on 14 February to attend a programme of briefings on the development of the Irish Defence Forces' involvement in Peace Support Operations (PSO) abroad.


KODO Welcome Reception


Demonstration at the Japanese Ambassador Residence (left)      KODO members Ambassador Hayashi (centre in the first row) and Japanese Embassy staff (right)

On the occasion of KODO's visit to Ireland during their ongoing One Earth Tour in Europe a welcome reception was given by Ambassador Hayashi at his official residence in Dublin . A number of Irish government officials, members of the local music community and the diplomatic corps etc. were invited to enjoy their brief but lively performance. The tickets to their performance at the National Concert Hall on 4 Feb. 2006 were sold out soon after they became available, confirming the enormous popularity of KODO music among Irish people. At the reception, they performed traditional Japanese drum music, dance and a fishermen folksong.


Suzuki Ladies Gaelic Football National League 2006


The Taoiseach Mr. Bertie Ahern, T.D.was welcomed by Mr. Keiichi Hayashi, the Ambassador of Japan and Mr Niall O'Gorman, General Manager of Suzuki Ireland (left)     The Launch of the National Football League in Croke Park (right)

An Taoiseach Mr. Bertie Ahern, T.D. officially launched the 2006 Suzuki Ladies National Football League in Croke Park on 30 January 2006. This ceremony which was also attended by Ambassador Hayashi highlighted the Japanese business' contribution to the development of the traditional Irish sports of Gaelic football and provided another opportunity to further deepen friendly relations between Japan and Ireland.


Dublin International Charity Bazaar


Ms. Mary Hanafin T.D., Minister for Education & Science at the Japanese stall (left)

An international Charity Bazaar "Bazaar na Naisiun" was held at Jurys Ballsbridge Hotel in Dublin on 29 January 2006 , to support the earthquake orphans in Pakistan and to help with the reconstruction of the SOS Children's Village & School in Muzaffarabad. The diplomatic community in Dublin , including the Japanese Embassy, and members of the Irish community participated in the bazaar, which was attended by many visitors, including the Taoiseach, Mr. Bertie Ahern, T.D. and other cabinet members.


Former Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan visited Dublin

Mr. N. Machimura and Mr. D. Ahern T.D., the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ireland (right)

Mr. Nobutaka Machimura, the former Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, who is the chairman of Research Commission on Foreign Affairs of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, visited Dublin 23-25 January 2006. During his stay in Dublin, he delivered a speech on "The Future of Japan-EU Cooperation and the East Asian Security Environment" at the Royal Irish Academy, and had a meeting with Mr. Dermot Ahern T.D., Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ireland.


Launch of Exchange Programme between Irish and Japanese Schools

Ambassador Hayashi with Holy Family Secondary School students (left)             Mr. Sean Power T.D., Minister of State at the Department of Health, Mr. Tom Parlon T.D., Minister of State at the Department of Finance and Ambassador Hayashi (right)

On 19 January 2006, the launch of the first intercultural educational exchange between the Holy Family Secondary School, Newbridge, Co. Kildare and Sendai Ikuei Gakuen High School, Japan, was held in the Holy Family Secondary School. A group of 20 students from transition year will travel to Japan in February on a cultural and linguistic exchange programme, stay with host Japanese families, attend language classes in Sendai Ikuei and participate in a variety of educational and cultural activities, while in the coming October, the Japanese students and their teachers will come to Newbridge and stay with host families and participate in a weeklong educational and cultural programme. This is the first group exchange undertaken between an Irish and Japanese school.

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