Statement by Minister Cowen regarding the State visit to Japan by former President Mary Robinson in February 1995
The State visit to Japan by the then President, Mrs. Mary Robinson, took place from 20-28 February 1995. The visit was at the invitation of the Emperor and Empress of Japan and the Japanese Government. A State visit to Japan had been under consideration by the Japanese and Irish Governments for some very considerable time beforehand, and the formal invitation was extended in the course of the then Tánaiste's visit to Japan in September, 1994. A State visit is the highest category in the Japanese protocol system.
In an official assessment of the State visit, the then Irish Ambassador to Japan emphasised its importance “in confirming and consolidating the friendship and developing partnership between Ireland and Japan and in presenting Ireland in Japan in the most favourable light possible”. The Ambassador also stated that “Ireland's foreign earnings and job creation objectives were facilitated by the visit in many different ways”, including through supporting the role of the Semi-State Agencies. In parallel with the President's visit, for example, the then Trade Board (ABT) brought a trade mission to Japan, while the IDA arranged for the President to meet a number of key industrialists of particular importance to this country.
With regard to references which have been made to Mrs. Robinson's candidature for the post of High Commissioner for Human Rights arising during the State visit, I wish to state that this issue did not arise in the course of the visit. The issue of Mrs. Robinson's possible candidature for the post of High Commissioner was raised for the first time with the Department in March 1997, over two years after the State visit.
I wish to reiterate the deep appreciation of successive Governments for the exceptional way in which the former President in her State and Official visits abroad advanced the interests of Ireland and promoted its international standing. At all times she upheld the dignity of her Office to the highest standards, and won widespread esteem and admiration.Top