Question to the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport:
To ask if he will report on his visit to Japan and Korea; and if he will make a statement on the matter. -Jerry Buttimer
For WRITTEN answer on Tuesday, 26th March, 2013
Ref. No. 15274/13
Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar):
On behalf of the Government, I represented Ireland in Japan and Korea during the St Patrick’s Day period. The purpose of these visits is threefold:
Firstly, to promote Irish economic and cultural links overseas. Secondly, to use the opportunity of St Patrick’s Day to strengthen our bi-lateral relationship with other states. Thirdly, to connect with our diaspora overseas as well as those individuals with a strong connection or affinity with Ireland. With regard to bi-lateral relations, I met with Minister for Culture, Tourism and Sport and the Minister for Patriots and Veterans Affairs in Korea. While in Japan, I met with the Minister for Land, Infrastructure and Transport and the Minister for Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology. I also had the privilege in Japan of attending a meeting of the Japan Ireland Parliamentary Friendship League in their parliament. These meetings gave me an opportunity to discuss matters relating to matters of mutual interest between our two countries and also to promote key Irish interests in Korea and Japan.
In relation to the promotion of Irish economic and cultural interests, I undertook a number of events with the Enterprise Ireland and the IDA offices in Korea and Japan, meeting with IDA client companies with investments in Ireland or those considering an investment. I also met with Enterprise Ireland clients exporting into these economies, as well as meeting with a variety of tourism trade interests in Japan.
I was pleased to have the opportunity to do all three on my visit to Korea and Japan. With regard to Korea, I was pleased to be able to attend our National Day event in Seoul, as well as to meet separately with members of the Irish community in Korea and members of the Global Irish Network. In Japan, I attended the National Day events in Tokyo and Osaka, and participated in the St Patrick’s Day Parades in Yokohama and Tokyo. These events gave me an opportunity to express my Government’s support for our links with the diaspora, as well as to learn as to how we can better improve our relationship with Japan and Korea.