October 25, 2013

1. On October 25, from 17:00 to 19:30, Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe and Mrs. Akie Abe hosted a Poland-Ireland Evening Reception at the Prime Minister's Residence.

2. Both Poland and Ireland are countries where new exchanges of junior high and high school students with Japan have started after the Great East Japan Earthquake. Prime Minister Abe and his wife visited Poland and Ireland in June 2013. Given these fact, this event was organized with hope to provide an occasion to further deepen exchanges among young people of Japan, Poland and Ireland.

3. In addition to students of these three countries, Mr. Janusz Piechoci?ski, Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Poland, Ambassador of Poland to Japan and his spouse, Ambassador of Ireland to Japan and his spouse, members of Japan-Poland and Japan-Ireland parliamentary group and other distinguished guests participated in this reception. By courtesy of the Embassy of Poland and the Embassy of Ireland in Tokyo, Polish and Irish cuisines were provided.

4. Following a welcome speech by Mrs. Akie Abe, four students groups made their presentation on exchanges between Japan and Poland, as well as those between Japan and Ireland.

1) First, 12 students from Nazareth High School in Warsaw, Poland, and Harima High School in Hyogo Prefecture introduced their sister school exchanges started in May 2011. They started their communication after the Great East Japan Earthquake and have deepened the friendship through exchange programs and have been in touch via internet. Students expressed their hope that more schools start such sister school exchanges between the two countries. At the end of presentation, students sing a polish festive song "Sto lat (hundred years)" with sincere wish of further nurturing friendship lasting 100 years.

2) Second, Polish students from Warsaw University and Polish-Japanese Institute of Information Technology who are now studying at Josai University and Josai International University introduced how they started to be interested in Japan and presented their recommendation on Japan-Poland relationship in future. Polish students recommended that exchanges in such fields like science technology, sports and pop culture should be further strengthened between the two countries. In addition, they made an interesting proposal "a culture bus" ?people can experience Japanese culture like music, cooking and pop culture on bus which run across Poland.

3) Third, Irish university students made a presentation that student exchange programs between the two countries are active. They stated that bilateral educational exchange is the most unshakable property and expressed their sincere gratitude to the scholarship program of the MEXT to give a chance to study in Japan and open the way to their future careers.

4) Finally, junior high school students from Miyagi prefecture and High school students from Fukushima prefecture introduced episodes during their stay in Ireland; they were very impressed by the warmth of the people of Ireland in spite of differences of culture and lifestyle between the two countries. They were glad to have an opportunity to make a speech before Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny and PM Kenny and Irish people seriously heard their stories during the Great East Japan Earthquake. They would like to further appeal strengths of Ireland to promote exchanges of both countries.

5) Following the presentation session of four students groups, Irish music and dance was performed by Lady Chieftains and by Japan Irish Dance Association, and then a quiz session concerning the two countries was held.

5. In closing remarks, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe stated the importance of youth exchanges of Japan, Poland and Ireland and expressed his wishes that today's event would contribute to further enhancement of friendship and cooperation between these three countries.

(* The foregoing is a provisional translation. The date indicated above denotes the date of the original in Japanese.)

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