As 2019 begins, I would like to say a few words.
I hope that you have all been able to start the New Year, the last year of the Heisei era, in a peaceful way. As stated, His Imperial Majesty The Emperor Akihito will abdicate this year on 30 April and His Imperial Highness The Crown Prince Naruhito will accede to the Throne on 1 May. Personally, when the current Emperor’s enthronement took place 30 years ago in Tokyo, I was working in the division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs with responsibility for the occasion and I remember the experience of the curtain rising on a new era like it was yesterday. At the same time, it is profound to think that the majority of people alive today will have lived through three eras – Showa, Heisei and the next one, which will be announced on 1 April.
On the diplomatic front, we have been keeping an eye on the situation in the Korean Peninsula following the U.S.-North Korea summit meeting last June, the future of U.S.-China trade friction and Japan-Russia relations among other issues. In Europe, with the deadline for the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union approaching at the end of March, emergency preparation planning in the event of no deal is under way. We published related information on our Embassy website at the end of last year and we will continue to monitor the situation and provide accurate information on this unprecedented event. This year, in addition to the enthronement on 22 October, the G20 Summit will take place in Osaka and the 7th Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) is scheduled to be held in Yokohama in August.
I think I can safely say that the most important event for our relations with Ireland will be the Rugby World Cup which begins on 20 September. As I am sure you are aware, the Irish team is currently ranked second in the world and, in a test match last November, defeated world number ones New Zealand. I hope you will join with me in cheering on Japan and Ireland’s rugby teams and the exciting atmosphere carries over to the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games.
I hope 2019 will be a wonderful year for you all and for the friendship between our two countries. Thank you very much for your continued understanding and support.
January 16, 2019
Ambassador Miyoshi’s Message (January 2019)