Rugby World Cup an ‘immense’ opportunity to build Irish presence in Japan, Coveney says

Tánaiste reminds Ireland rugby supporters to remember they are ‘ambassadors’

Tánaiste Simon Coveney, Minister for Business Heather Humphreys, Minister for Tourism and Sport Shane Ross and Japanese ambassador Mitsuru Kitano at the announcement of a Japan-focused promotional campaign for Ireland during the Rugby World Cup. Photograph: Stephen Collins/Collins

Tánaiste Simon Coveney, Minister for Business Heather Humphreys, Minister for Tourism and Sport Shane Ross and Japanese ambassador Mitsuru Kitano at the announcement of a Japan-focused promotional campaign for Ireland during the Rugby World Cup. Photograph: Stephen Collins/Collins

 

The Rugby World Cup provides an “immense opportunity” for Ireland to build a presence and forge relationships in Japan, Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney has said.

Speaking as a campaign was announced to promote Ireland in Japan during the tournament, Mr Coveney said some 25,000 Irish people would be visiting Japanese cities in the coming weeks.

“We see this as an enormous opportunity to reinforce the foundations that are already incredibly strong with Japan in terms of trade, in terms of tourism, in terms of political co-operation,” he said.

The campaign, involving agencies such as Enterprise Ireland, IDA Ireland, Bord Bia and Tourism Ireland, aims to highlight Ireland as a prime location for trade, investment, education, tourism and food and drink.

Mr Coveney said his department has made “detailed preparations” to support Irish citizens while they are in Japan for the six-week competition.

“I want to remind all fans who plan to put on a green jersey and support Ireland that they are ambassadors for our country and they shouldn’t forget that,” he added.

Minister for Business Heather Humphreys will lead a trade mission involving 50 firms to Japan next month with the aim of further strengthening the trading relationship between the nations.

“We will be promoting Ireland as a good place in which to do business and the Irish companies that are coming with me will also be trying to find new markets there, because that has been our policy to diversify into new markets and we see the Asia region as one of those areas where we need to increase our market share,” she said.

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Shane Ross is also due to travel to Japan during the tournament. The Rugby World Cup begins on Friday with Japan taking on Russia at 11.45am (Irish time). Ireland’s first game, against Scotland, kicks off at 8.45am (Irish time) on Sunday.