Enda lunches on deadly catch of the day and spreads his message
Guests laughed nervously on being told their pufferfish had potential to kill
Simon Coveney, the Minister for Agriculture, managed to get over for the big beef announcement but Enda shamelessly hogged the limelight. He has form here – just ask Minister for Jobs Richard Bruton.
There were a lot of engagements yesterday and at every one of them the Taoiseach underlined he was in Japan at the invitation of prime minister Abe, who asked him over during the G20 summit.
When the two prime ministers held talks in the early evening, Enda turned to him during the media briefing and said: “I have come here because of your direct invitation to me.”
It’s as if he thinks people are under the impression he pitched up on spec with his very large entourage, wandering into palaces and parliament buildings in the hope of getting noticed.
Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness were also in to meet the prime minister. But while Enda got the full flags treatment for a backdrop, there wasn’t one to be seen when the First Minister and his deputy posed for their photograph.
During a meeting with members of the Japan Ireland Parliamentary League, Hakubun Shimomura, Japan’s minister for education, had a suggestion.
He wants to turn St Valentine’s
Day in Japan into Ireland Day. This is because the first syllable in “Ireland” sounds like the Japanese word for love and St Valentine is buried in Dublin.
A popular brand of Irish made chocolates sold out in the shops on St Valentine’s Day, which is when a woman traditionally gives choccies to her beau.
The Taoiseach is all for the idea. It could have major implications for the chocolate industry in Ireland, he mused.
Still with an eye to the main chance, Enda floated the idea that Ireland has great experience in the area of peace negotiations and might be of some service to countries such as Japan which are experiencing regional difficulties.
China wasn’t mentioned, although a large number of local journalists turned up to hear if Ireland has a position on the current dispute over airspace. They had no interest in beef.
The national television station was due to feature Enda’s visit on the news but he was bumped off by the story of a minor diplomat arrested for allegedly setting fire to Japan’s embassy in the Congo.
During a brief call on Crown Prince Naruhito, the Taoiseach invited him to visit Ireland in 2017, the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between the countries.
Unlike this week’s visit, that trip abroad would be massive news in Japan. Will the crown prince bring his wife, Crown Princess Masako? The couple married in 1993 but she rarely leaves the imperial palace and seldom accompanies her husband abroad. The country would be agog if she came here.
Enda spent the day spreading his message of beef and love. Strains there of Yoko Ono. He just missed her and her cowboy hat by seconds in the hotel lobby.
“She stayed in a hotel in 1969 in Mulranny with John Lennon,” he said. “They still have the Lennon suite there.”