The 31st Annual General Meeting for the Ireland Japan Association took place on Wednesday, 24th March 2021. Following the official guidelines and taking into account the current situation in the country, the meeting took place online via Zoom platform.
The IJA General Meeting was called prior to the AGM 2021 to discuss and vote on the proposal to amend the Paragraph 10 (Election Procedure) of the IJA Constitution regarding the duration of both Chairperson and Vice-Chairperson holding of their positions. The proposed amendment was approved by majority and will be included in the IJA Constitution: ‘10.7. Both the Chairperson and the Vice-Chairperson shall be elected by the Annual General Meeting and shall hold office for a one year period and may be re-elected but may not hold the same office for more than three consecutive years.’
Raymond Hegarty, 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 in 2020, and all IJA Corporate and Individual members.
Raymond Hegarty paid his respects to the late Dr. Tom Hardiman (1929 -2020) who was the IJA Honorary Member and a passionate advocate of Ireland-Japan relations throughout his life.
In his report, Raymond Hegarty noted that despite the lockdown and numerous restrictions in 2020, the IJA adapted to the new situation and moved most of the events online. 10 business and culture events were organized throughout the past year, including Noh ‘Between the stones’ workshops and shows in Kilkenny and Wexford and the IJA Annual Dinner 2020 which was the last event the IJA managed to organise before the Covid pandemic hit the country, followed by a list of online events: AGM 2020, Hokkaido and the Coronavirus – coping with the second wave, IJA Photo Competition JAPANORAMIC, Kimono demonstration, Ikebana demonstration, Wellness talk ‘Happy Gut Happy Brain’, Managing Business Recovery Through Covid-19, New Business Opportunities with Japan and Ireland, and the IJA Japanese Conversation Group.
In 2020 IJA supported and promoted 12 online events in partnership with other organizations, IJA members and friends – UCD Japan, Unique Japan Tours and the Ireland Japan Chamber of Commerce.
The IJA supported three organizations with donations in 2020: Dublin School for Japanese Children (DSJC), Experience Japan festival in Dublin and 18th Japanese Speech Contest.
Raymond Hegarty informed that IJA member’s network has 34 corporate members and 47 individual members. Two new corporate members have joined the IJA in 2020 – Clover Aircraft Leasing and NTT Ireland Ltd. Raymond Hegarty thanked AIB for continued support to the IJA over the years as a Patron member.
An update on the Dr. and Mrs. Ushioda Scholarship was given during the meeting, noting that the very first recipient of the scholarship – Sophia Herar (DCU) – returned from her studies in Japan in 2020 where she studied at Kyoto University of Foreign Studies. Unfortunately, due to the global Covid-19 pandemic, Sophia’s stay in Japan was cut short but she has expressed her gratitude for the support to Mrs. Ushioda and the IJA. Raymond Hegarty thanked Donagh Morris for his support and assistance with the scholarship management and administration process over the last 2 years.
In 2020, due to the pandemic, the scholarship award was put on pause but the IJA is delighted to announce that in 2021 the scholarship will be awarded to a student from University of Limerick – based on their academic merits.
Summary of the IJA Financial Statements for 2020 was shared with the AGM participants, membership subscription fees were approved for 2021/2022 and the new IJA Council members were announced.
Raymond Hegarty informed that this year there are 8 current Council members leaving the Council. He thanked Colin Murray (Retro Vino), Donagh Morris (MUFG Fund Services), Eoghan Howe (Bank of Ireland), Graham Ryan (Yamamori), Hiro Ino (IJA Individual Member), Niall Moriarty (AIB), Shane Geraghty (Dillon Eustace) and Zach Schroeder (IJA Individual Member) for their work, participation and team effort during their time on the Council.
This year the IJA received a record number of nominations for the IJA Council elections – 17, and the elections for the very first time were held online from Thursday, 11th March – Thursday, 18th March.
Seven new Council members were welcomed to the IJA Council this year – Catherine Grennell-Whyte (Finnair/ATTS), Karl O’Reilly (KWE Ireland), Laura Goonan (Dillon Eustace), Pamela Connell (Bank of Ireland), Paula Kelly (IJA Individual Member), Rachel Curry (AIB) and Stephen Mullin (CPL Ireland).
The newly elected IJA Council for 2021:
- Raymond Hegarty (Chairperson)
- Yasuyuki Ozeki, JETRO (Vice-Chairperson)
- Catherine Grennell-Whyte, Finnair/ATTS
- Darina Slattery, Unique Japan Tours
- Karl O’Reilly, KWE Ireland
- Laura Goonan, Dillon Eustace
- Pamela Connell, Bank of Ireland Corporate Banking
- Rachel Curry, AIB Corporate Banking
- Stephen Mullin, CPL Ireland
- Tsugumi Yamamoto, Grant Thornton Ireland
- Eddie Hughes, IJA Individual Member
- Hiroaki Ozaki, IJA Individual Member
- Paula Kelly, IJA Individual Member
- Verity Swan, IJA Individual Member
Not on Council but invited to attend meetings:
- Sou Watanabe (Honorary Member)