Photo: Ministry of Foreign Affairs Japan
In the 25 years that Ireland has participated on the JET Programme over a thousand Irish people have been immersed in Japanese life, society and culture through the opportunities provided by the programme. On June 12 2013 a small group of former Irish JETs met with Mrs Abe (the wife of the current Japanese Prime Minister) in the Henry Jones room of Trinity College Dublin to briefly discuss the impact of the programme on their lives post-JET. The range and depth of that impact was impressive: the teaching of Japanese in schools through the Post-Primary Languages Initiative; the activities of the Ireland Japan Association; the teaching of Japanese at university level; practicing shiatsu professionally; post-graduate research into EU-Japan relations; the grá for Japanese food and the success of the Experience Japan day. Mrs Abe expressed her pleasure at hearing how strong the feelings and connections with Japan remained for these former JETs. Mrs Abe said that she believes that former JETs, through their on-going efforts to promote Ireland-Japan relations, are a valuable treasure for both countries.
Neil Maher, Okayama Prefecture 2001 – 2003