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St Patrick’s Day Message to the Irish Community in Japan from Ambassador Paul Kavanagh

St Patrick’s Day Message to the Irish Community in Japan
from Ambassador Paul Kavanagh
17 March, 2020

Dear compatriots,

Beannachtaí na Féile Pádraig daoibh!

Shoulder to Shoulder
This year we observe St. Patrick’s Day under the shadow of a global pandemic whose epicentre has recently moved from Asia to Europe but whose full future extent we have no way of knowing at present.

What we do know, nonetheless is that we can each contribute to a slowing down in the spread of the Covid-19 virus and to a limiting of its peak penetration if we follow the guidance of public authorities, national, international and local.

And, of course, our collective drive to limit and ultimately defeat the virus will be greatly strengthened by a shared sense of solidarity and common purpose.

In his St Patrick’s Day message to the world, the President of Ireland was prompted once again to reflect on these important dimensions of the Saint’s legacy. President Higgins observed in particular that:


“Today, as the world faces the global spread of the coronavirus we are called more than ever to follow the values embodied in the story of St. Patrick. Those values of solidarity and concern for the well-being of our fellow citizens will play a fundamental role in our effective confronting of the challenge with which we are now presented.
It is a challenge that calls on the tradition and practice of our communities working together, recognising the needs of all their members, and in particular those who are most vulnerable.”


At home in Ireland and around the world our people have in the past bonded together and derived strength from each other, often in the face of vertiginous adversity. They are again doing so today. It is what we Irish do well. We are known for this.

The Irish community in Japan, which numbers upwards of some 1,500 has long made significant and highly valued contributions to the life of this country, in its cultural, business, educational and other dimensions.

And its members continue today to keep an eye out for each other, especially for the unwell, the lonely and those among us who may be under pressure. This is to be admired.

Official Irish Advice on Covid-19
You will have seen that last night in Dublin, the Government announced its multi-faceted Action Plan in the face of the Covid-19. The Plan draws together and builds on the resolute measures which the Government has been announcing and implementing for many weeks now, based on evidence as well as the best scientific and medical advice available to it.

Of course, as regards the situation in Japan we who are in this country are best guided by the official advice of the Japanese authorities, national, Prefectoral and local. We should all be following closely official Japanese pronouncements and applying these to our circumstances, as appropriate.

This said, I thought that it might be useful to take the opportunity of my St Patrick’s Day message to bring fully up to date our Embassy’s regular public messaging – and to share with you the latest Advice of the Irish Government to our citizens, both as regards overseas travel and, more widely in terms of protecting ourselves, individually and collectively, against the virus.

As you are no doubt aware, for some time now the Embassy has been encouraging Irish citizens in Japan to register with us. Appended below is a message that we have sent today to all those who have indeed registered with the Embassy.

St Patrick’s Day Cancellations
Unfortunately, in Japan as elsewhere the current situation has led to the cancellation of many St Patrick’s Day events. There were to have been over 20 events across 17 cities in Japan this year. We share the disappointment of the organisers, participants, sponsors and supporters of the events which could not take place.

Beginning with the “I Love Ireland Festival” organised by the Ireland-Japan Chamber of Commerce in Tokyo and the flagship Tokyo Parade organised by the Irish Network Japan, all of these events from Sapporo to Kumamoto, taken together, attract Japanese people in huge numbers. Year after year, they help add to the knowledge and understanding of Ireland right across this country.

And to those who persevered against the odds to mount sporadic St Patrick’s Day events this year, let me congratulate you one and all. I am thinking not least of the special “Greenings” which took place in Yokohama, Matsue and Ise.

I would like to thank the tireless volunteers and partners, especially our close Japanese friends, who support these and other events – at the time of St Patrick’s Day and throughout the year.

Let me encourage Irish citizens here in Japan to get involved in some of the great societies and organisations which are involved in building our strong cultural and other links with this country. Please support larger and even better activities going forward. It makes a difference.

We have St. Patrick’s Day, 2021 to look forward to. We will be back with a bang in twelve months’ time!

A Bright Future Ahead for Ireland/ Japan Ties
In the meantime, spanning many sectors, Ireland’s traditionally close ties with Japan are strengthened by our both being party to the EU/ Japan Economic Partnership Agreement. Opportunities from the EPA abound, not least in the food and drinks sector.

Overall two-way trade between Ireland and Japan amounts to about €12 billion. Japan is the largest investor in Ireland from the Asia/ Pacific region. Strong, existing Japanese investment in Ireland continues to grow, mainly in Financial Services, ICT and Life Sciences.

Already over 6,000 people are employed in Ireland by Japanese FDI/ investment companies, whilst getting on for 2,000 people in Japan, mostly graduates, are employed by cutting-edge Irish companies in Fintech, Life Sciences, Food and other areas.

Ireland and Japan are ambitious this year to open a new period for their bilateral ties, bringing these to a new, higher level in the next half-decade.

And in this spirit, Ireland is developing in Tokyo a new, Ireland House – a showcase platform from which to promote Ireland in Japan for decades to come.

We are looking forward to welcoming Ireland’s Olympians and Paralympians to Japan. I would like to express our shared admiration for the extraordinary achievement of the Government of Japan, the Tokyo2020 Olympic Organising Committee and Tokyo Metropolitan Government in preparing so effectively for both sets of Games this summer.

And, 21 November, 2020 will see Ireland and Japan’s Brave Blossoms play a friendly, international rugby test match in Dublin. All of Ireland will warmly welcome an exceptional Japanese team and many, expected Japanese visitors.

It will be an occasion – as the dramatic year of 2020 draws towards a conclusion – to renew the warm friendship that the Japanese and Irish forged together here in Japan during the wonderful days of Rugby World Cup 2019.

Looking beyond the current, extreme global challenge of Covid -19, the future for relations between Ireland and Japan is surely bright.

Le gach dea ghuí,

With all good wishes,

Paul Kavanagh
Ambassador

---------------------

ANNEX

Message from Embassy of Ireland, Tokyo
to Irish Citizens in Japan who have Registered with the Embassy
Tuesday, 17 March, 2020

Dear Irish Citizen, 

The Embassy and the wider Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade are monitoring the current COVID-19 situation very closely, both in Japan and internationally. We are working with our partners in Japan and across the world in order to provide the best possible advice and assistance to Irish citizens.

On the advice of the National Public Health Emergency Team, the Government of Ireland has (as of 16 March) advised against all non-essential travel overseas at least until March 29. This includes Great Britain but does not apply to Northern Ireland. It also includes all cruise ship travel.

Anyone coming into Ireland, including from Japan, will now also be required to restrict their movements on arrival for 14 days. This includes Irish residents. Essential supply chain services such as hauliers, pilots and maritime staff are exempt.

Please see further information on the website of the Health Service Executive (HSE): https://www2.hse.ie/conditions/coronavirus/travel-and-coronavirus.html

There is mounting disruption to travel worldwide. We encourage citizens who need, or who intend to return to Ireland to make provision for doing so and to liaise closely now with travel providers on their travel plans.

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Contact

Irish citizens who intend to travel in the near future, and have concerns about COVID-19, can ring the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade dedicated phone line on +353 (0)1 613 1733.

Please also see further information on the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade COVID-19 travel advice webpage: https://www.dfa.ie/travel/travel-advice/coronavirus/

Embassy of Ireland, Tokyo Contact

If you are in Japan and if you have any queries which are not answered from the links and information in this email, you can find full contact details for our Embassy on our website here: https://www.dfa.ie/irish-embassy/japan/contact-us/

You can also follow the Embassy on social media to receive updates and notices on Twitter (@irishembjapan and @IrishEmbJapanEN and on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/irelandinjapan/)

Together with the Department in Dublin we are keeping the situation under constant review, and the Department will continue to update our Travel Advice for Japan web page to reflect the most up to date assessment and developments. We are guided in this regard by Irish and European health authorities.

You can view our current travel advice for Japan on our website here: https://www.dfa.ie/travel/travel-advice/a-z-list-of-countries/japan/

We are in the process of updating this web page to reflect the overnight advice for Irish citizens on worldwide travel.

Information sources in Japan

If you are in Japan, you should monitor developments regularly and follow the advice of national, Prefectural and local authorities, as appropriate.

The Japanese Ministry of Health is publishing information in English on the current situation in Japan.

We would also point you towards the dedicated website maintained by the Japan National Tourism Organisation (JNTO) which is providing updates on the situation:

The JNTO also run a 24-hour hotline (+81 50 3816-2787) which provides support and advice in English for visitors and others in Japan including on coronavirus.

Further useful information

As you will see on our travel advice webpage we have also listed some further useful sources of information for Irish citizens on the current situation, including the, World Health Organisation (WHO), European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and the Irish Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC). These organisations are publishing reliable and detailed updates and advice, and we would advise citizens to review if seeking to learn more about the current situation and the precautions that can be taken to protect themselves and others.

Finally, if you know of any members of the Irish Community in Japan who are not registered with the Embassy, we would ask if you could pass on this email and the details of our citizens’ registration portal: https://citizensregistration.dfa.ie/

Stay safe and take care,

Embassy of Ireland, Tokyo
17 March, 2020

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