Prime Minister of Japan and His Cabinet  
Speeches and Statements by Prime Minister TOP

Message from Mr. Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan, to Mr. Bertie Ahern TD, Taoiseach of Ireland, on the 50th Anniversary of the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations between Japan and Ireland

March 5, 2007

Dear Taoiseach and the people of Ireland,

I share my heartfelt joy with Your Excellency and the people of Ireland on celebrating the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between our two countries.

Our two nations established diplomatic relations on March 5th 1957, and I am greatly pleased that for half a century since then, the friendly and co-operative bonds between our two countries have been continuously strengthened.

In recent years, Irish culture, including its literature renowned for 4 Nobel laureates, music, dance, and pubs, has become increasingly familiar to Japanese people.

Ireland has achieved remarkable economic development as an important member of the EU, and our bilateral relations in trade and investment have been significantly strengthened.

People-to-people exchanges will form another basis for further strengthening bilateral relations. A number of Irish young people have actively participated in the Japan Exchange and Teaching Programme. Also, and to celebrate the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations, the Working Holiday Programme, which is expected to contribute to even more active exchanges, was inaugurated on January 1st this year.

One of the pillars of the foreign policy of my Government is further strengthening partnerships with countries that share the fundamental values of freedom, democracy, basic human rights, and the rule of law. Ireland, a country that attained today's prosperity after a long history of difficulties and hardships, is Japan's important partner sharing these fundamental values. I would like to further promote cooperation with you and your people in addressing various international challenges.

I sincerely hope that this commemorative year will bring about a quantum leap in our bilateral relationship and further consolidate our friendship.