IJA Annual General Meeting 2020 | Review

The 30th Annual General Meeting for the Ireland Japan Association took place on Thursday, 19th March 2020. It was hosted via conference call due to the Covid-19 developments in the country and advice from the authorities to avoid large meetings indoors.

Darina Slattery, IJA Chairperson, thanked the outgoing Council members for their work, participation and team effort throughout the past year, Embassy of Japan for continued support to the IJA, AIB – the Patron member of the IJA, and all IJA Corporate and Individual members.

In her report, Darina Slattery noted that 2019 was a very busy year for the IJA, especially with the Rugby World Cup taking place in Japan which created a lot of interest about Japan here in Ireland. 16 business and culture events were organized throughout the past year (14 events in 2019 and 2 events in 2020), including Japanese language courses, free Japanese conversation group meetings in cooperation with TCD, business briefings in cooperation with the IJA Corporate members, RWC Travel and Culture Day, Sushi & Sake experience, exclusive fine dining event at Michelin star restaurant Ichigo Ichie, IJA Annual Dinner, Annual Golf Outing, Japanese Noh ‘Between the Stones’ tour in Ireland and Bounenkai celebration at the end of the year.

The IJA supported four organizations with donations in 2019: Dublin School for Japanese Children (DSJC), Japanese School of Ireland, Experience Japan festival in Dublin and 17th Japanese Speech Contest.  

Ushioda Scholarship was established in honour of Dr. and Mrs. Ushioda’s major contribution to the development of the Ireland Japan Association and Ireland-Japan relations, and to underpin the association’s strong commitment to supporting Japanese studies in Ireland. In 2019, the scholarship was awarded to Sophia Herar, DCU.

Darina Slattery informed that IJA member’s network has 37 corporate members and 45 individual members. Four new corporate members have recently joined the IJA – CLP Resources plc, MUFG Investor Services, Retro Vino and Clover Aircraft Leasing. Darina Slattery thanked AIB for continuous support and decision to remain as a Patron member for 2020.

Summary of the IJA Financial Statements for 2019 was shared with the AGM participants, membership subscription fees were approved for 2020/2021 and the new IJA Council members were announced.

Darina Slattery thanked Neil Maher (Mitsubishi Electric) and Paula Kelly (Individual member) for their work at the IJA Council in the past years. Both have stepped down at the AGM after three years of service at the IJA Council. Darina Slattery also informed that after four years in the position of the IJA Chairperson, she is stepping down and thanked everyone at the IJA Council for a truly amazing work promoting Japanese culture and strengthening ties between both countries.

Four new Council members were welcomed to the IJA Council this year – Colin Murray (Retro Vino / Retro Sake), Eddie Hughes (Individual member), Hiroaki Ozaki (Individual member) and Zachary Schroeder (Individual member), and very warm welcome to the newly elected IJA Chairperson – Raymond Hegarty.

The newly elected IJA Council for 2020:

Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson, Ex-Officio

  1. Raymond Hegarty (Chairperson)
  2. Yasuyuki Ozeki, JETRO (Vice-Chairperson)
  3. Darina Slattery, Unique Japan Tours (Ex-Officio)

Corporate Members:

  1. Colin Murray, Retro Vino
  2. Eoghan Howe, BOI Corporate Banking
  3. Donagh Morris, MUFG Investor Services
  4. Graham Ryan, Yamamori
  5. Niall Moriarty, AIB Corporate Banking
  6. Shane Geraghty, Dillon Eustace
  7. Tsugumi Yamamoto, Grant Thornton Ireland

Individual Members:

  1. Eddie Hughes, Individual Member
  2. Hiro Ino, Individual Member
  3. Hiroaki Ozaki, Individual Member
  4. Verity Swan, Individual Member
  5. Zachary Schroeder, Individual Member

Not on Council but invited to attend meetings:

  1. Sou Watanabe (Honorary)
  2. Tom Hardiman (Honorary)

Darina Slattery informed that the IJA is carefully monitoring the situation regarding Covid-19 and, unfortunately, all IJA upcoming events in March have been cancelled. The IJA will be following public health advice guidelines from the authorities regarding events in the next months. Please follow announcements on the IJA website and social media.

Coronavirus COVID-19 | IJA Announcement

The IJA is carefully monitoring the situation regarding Coronavirus COVID-19 and would like to inform that at the moment all IJA upcoming events in March are cancelled or will take place virtually/online/via conference call. [updated on 16.03.2020]

It is essential that any decisions regarding responses to COVID-19 are proportionate, necessary and based on specific public health advice. We will be following public health advice guidelines, will consult our event hosts/venues, and will make the decision about each upcoming event separately. Please follow announcements on our website and social media.

We would like to ask that the public continue to follow hse.ie and gov.ie for accurate information regarding COVID-19, its symptoms and the steps the public can take to protect themselves.

IJA Council


EU-Japan News | March 2020 Issue Available Now

EU-Japan NEWS is the quarterly newsletter of the EU-Japan Centre launched in 2003 and containing EU-Japan-related news and features on topics of interest to EU and Japan businesses and public bodies.

The newest issue of the March 2020 Newsletter is available now with the EU and Japan related news, partnering opportunities, Enterprise Europe network news and lots of other useful information and links.

EU-Japan Centre for Industrial Cooperation is a unique venture between the European Commission and the Japanese government. It is a non-profit organisation established as an affiliate of the Institute of International Studies and Training (IIST). It aims at promoting all forms of industrial, trade and investment cooperation between the EU and Japan and at improving EU and Japanese companies’ competitiveness and cooperation by facilitating exchanges of experience and know-how between EU and Japanese businesses.

You can read full March 2020 Newsletter here!

The 18th JLTI Japanese Speech Contest

JLTI Speech Contest Committee has kindly invited you to attend the 18th JLTI Japanese Speech Contest on Saturday, 7th March at the UCD, Dublin.

Date: Saturday, 7th March 2020
Time: 1 – 5.30 p.m.
Venue: William Fry Theatre, Sutherland School of Law, UCD, Dublin

Please see event timetable and map HERE!

*General (Participants have lived in Japan for no longer than 5 years in total.)
*Secondary School students – LC2 (Leaving Certificate Student)
*Secondary School students – TY/LC1 (Transition Year & 5th Year Students)

*General Category: Their own choice
*TY/LC1 Category: Self Introduction
*LC2 Category:  “If I Went To Japan”, “My Best Day Ever”,  “My Best Friend”

The JLTI is marking its 19th year since its foundation, and its 18th Speech Contest is taking place this year. There has been a steady increase in the number of entries every year, and the contest is becoming more popular and is drawing more interest. The contest now has three categories, two post-primary student categories and one general category.

Since the Speech Contest is always attended by the friends and families of the secondary school participants, it has grown to provide a friendly forum for those interested in the Japanese language and in Japan in general. The marked increase in the level of the speeches over the years is a huge incentive and encouragement to the teachers working with the participants.

Japanese language teaching/learning in Ireland is slowly but surely gaining popularity. The number of students opting to take Japanese as a Leaving Certificate examination subject is increasing with approximately 300 students sitting the exam last year. In addition, University College Cork launched its Institute of Japanese Studies in September 2011, Dublin City University and University of Limerick have Japanese courses, and University College Dublin and Trinity College have Japanese modules, thus creating a solid base for Japanese Studies to develop among students in Ireland.

Find out more about the JLTI here!

Follow JLTI on Facebook!

Clover Aircraft Leasing joins IJA as a Corporate member

Ireland Japan Association (IJA) is delighted to welcome Clover Aircraft Leasing Company Limited, a 100%-owned subsidiary of Clover Aviation Capital Company Limited, an aircraft leasing and financing company, on board the IJA as a Corporate member and is looking forward to a long lasting and successful cooperation.



With its headquarters in Hong Kong, Clover Aviation Capital Company Limited is an aircraft leasing and financing company offering world-class aircraft leasing and asset management services to airlines and financial institutions worldwide.

Following the successful shareholding restructuring in November 2019, and with long term committed investment and support from our investors – Mizuho Bank, Mizuho Leasing and Ping An International Financial Leasing – we will continue to focus on the expansion of our strong portfolio of owned and managed aircraft assets.

Our extensive knowledge of the aviation industry, solid relationships with airline customers, aircraft manufacturers, aircraft investors, international banks and other key aviation industry participants, together with long-term experience and talents of our senior management team and key employees, give us full confidence to consistently deliver strong operational and financial results to our clients.

If you wish to learn more about Clover Aircraft Leasing Company Limited and services they provide, please visit their LinkedIn profile!

IJA Annual Dinner 2020

30th IJA Annual Dinner | Photo Gallery

On 14th February the IJA members, friends, and supporters came together to celebrate and enjoy one of our biggest events of the year – 30th IJA Annual Dinner 2020. This year it took place at one of the most beautiful and iconic Dublin venues – The Shelbourne Hotel.

The evening began with Sake reception, kindly supported by Embassy of Japan in Ireland and our corporate member – Retro Sake. Reception was followed by speeches from Ms Darina Slattery, IJA Chairperson, Mr Peter Sherrard, CEO of Olympic Federation of Ireland and H.E. Mr Mitsuru Kitano, Ambassador of Japan in Ireland.

Darina Slattery, IJA Chairperson

Peter Sherrard, CEO of Olympic Federation of Ireland

H.E. Mr Mitsuru Kitano, Ambassador of Japan in Ireland

IJA Annual Dinner 2020

Read here: Ambassador Kitano’s full speech at the IJA Annual Dinner 2020.

The guests enjoyed a delicious 3-course dinner in the beautiful Great Room followed by Prize Giving sponsored by the IJA Corporate members – AIB, ANABank of IrelandDillon EustaceKWE Ireland, Mitsubishi Electric, Retro Sake, SuMi TRUSTUnique Japan Tours and Yamamori. The Grand Prize this year was 2 return flights to Japan sponsored by Finnair, IJA 2020 Travel Partner.


(Please click on the images to enlarge)

Photo gallery in video format can be viewed here!



We would like to thank everyone who attended the IJA Annual Dinner this year. Special thanks go to our Patron member – AIB, our Travel Partner – Finnair, and all our Corporate members for their continued support and very generous prizes.

Our thanks go to the Dublin School for Japanese Children who made all the beautiful origami decorations for the dinner tables and to Mrs Tomoko Ozaki who created a wonderful Ikebana flower arrangement for the event. We would also like to thank The Shelbourne Hotel for hosting our event and providing excellent service before and during the dinner.

We would like to thank our Master of Ceremonies – Mr Raymond Hegarty, and our event team and volunteers – Mr Donagh Morris, Mr Graham Ryan, Ms Paula Kelly, Ms Tsugumi Yamamoto and Mr Yasuyuki Ozeki  – for their time, support and help to make this year’s event such a great success.

Photos/Video: Donagh Morris

Merry Christmas from all of us at the IJA!

Dear IJA Members and Friends,

Another amazing and busy year has come to an end. Christmas has come, and the year of the mouse in 2020 is soon approaching.

The IJA Council would like to thank you all for joining our events and outings this year and for your continued support to the Ireland Japan Association. We would like to wish you a very Merry Christmas and a healthy start of the New Year!

A special welcome to H.E. Mr. Mitsuru Kitano, who arrived recently as Ambassador of Japan in Ireland. We wish him every success in this new position. Ambassador Kitano will continue on as the IJA’s Patron Member. We very much look forward to working together in 2020 and beyond.

We are delighted that Dr. and Mrs. Ushioda scholarship was established this year in honour of Dr. and Mrs. Ushioda’s major contribution to the development of the IJA and Ireland-Japan relations, and to underpin the association’s strong commitment to supporting Japanese studies in Ireland. It was our pleasure to award it to Sophia Herar who is our first scholarship recipient.

Rugby took over the nation here in Ireland and definitely in Japan – the host of this year’s Rugby World Cup. Many of us were a part of this amazing event, experienced Japanese hospitality and discovered this beautiful country and culture in person. For many this was the first time visiting Japan. We are sure that this experience will encourage people to return and explore the Land of the Rising Sun even more, especially with such a huge and exciting event as Tokyo 2020 Olympic & Paralympic Games due to start in July 2020.

Finally, we are also delighted to announce that our biggest event of the year – The IJA Annual Dinner 2020 will be taking place on February 14th at The Shelbourne Hotel, Dublin. We hope you will join us for an evening of celebrations and fine dining at one of the most beautiful and iconic Dublin venues.

Wishing you a wonderful Christmas and happy holidays!

Warm wishes,

On the behalf of the IJA Council,

Darina Slattery

IJA Chairperson

Visit Tokyo – the bright, buzzing and exciting capital of Japan – together with Finnair!

Visiting the bright, buzzing and exciting capital of Japan – Tokyo – has never been so easy! Finnair has just announced a very special offer for flights from Dublin to Tokyo starting from just €679!

Plan your dream trip to one of the world-renowned metropolis which is home to diverse cultures, rich traditions and cutting-edge technology.

Campaign fares from Dublin to Tokyo

Selling period: 05/12/2019 – 18/12/2019

Tokyo offers unique contrasts between modernity and tradition, old and new, and each visitor will find something charming and different to experience and admire.

Tokyo will offer you some of the world’s most elegant and trendy shopping areas, amazing local cuisine experiences, historic temples as well as funky pop culture and contemporary art exhibits. In all this, you can’t forget also hospitality and kindness of the local people.

Log on to www.finnair.ie or contact your Local Travel Agent for booking or more information about the fare rules. Campaign fare includes all taxes and surcharges.

Welcome aboard Finnair!

‘Once in a lifetime’ experience at Ichigo Ichie, Cork

Ichigo Ichie – one of the best Japanese restaurants in Ireland and recipient of prestigious Michelin Star award, was our absolute favorite when we decided to organise an exclusive dining experience and a special night out for our members and friends.

On 8th November we set off to Cork to experience a unique ‘once in a lifetime’ Japanese haute-cuisine by Chef Takashi Miyazaki. His kaiseki multi-course tasting menu with elaborately prepared dishes that represent the seasons, promised to bring everybody on an amazing taste journey through Japanese cuisine, and this promise was well exceeded on the night.

Every dish was a flavour-filled edible art on the plate, and we all were able to admire the effort that was put into every single detail to introduce us to new unusual food textures and combinations of ingredients.

We all had an amazing evening and we truly enjoyed the hospitality of Chef Miyazaki and his team. Here is a little insight to our evening through photos.

We would like to thank Mr. Hiro Ino, IJA Council, for organising this wonderful event.

Photos: Donagh Morris & Hiro Ino

Fly to your favorite cities in Japan with Finnair

Japan is fast becoming one of the top tourist destinations visited by people all over the world. With its unique blend of traditional and modern, visitors can be immersed in Japanese history and culture, enjoy country’s natural beauty and also get a glimpse of the future through its technological developments.

Japan is amazingly beautiful all year round with its own unique charms and experiences in every season.

With so many amazing destinations to choose from, Finnair is currently offering special campaign rates for the flights to Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya, Fukuoka and Sapporo.

Campaign fares from Dublin to Japan

Selling period: 31/10/2019 – 03/12/2019

Log on to www.finnair.ie or contact your Local Travel Agent for booking or more information about the fare rules. Campaign fare includes all taxes and surcharges.

Welcome aboard Finnair!

Photos: Unsplash.com