Partner Focus - Ireland Japan Association

Irelabnd Japan Association (IJA)

Founded in 1990, the Ireland Japan Association (IJA) is a not-for-profit association run by a team of voluntary council members who aims to ensure the continuation of the long-established bond between Japan and Ireland. The IJA is supported by its members which consist of individual, Ex-Jet Programme participants, Japanese Teachers in Ireland and Corporate & Patron Members. The Ambassador of Japan in Ireland has been the Guest Patron Member since its establishment in 1990.  We are grateful for the patronage of the current Japanese Ambassador to Ireland, His Excellency Ambassador Mitsuru Kitano.

History of the IJA

The Ireland Japan Association (IJA) was founded in 1990 by the amalgamation of two predecessor organizations, The Ireland Japan Society (IJS) and The Ireland Japan Economic Association (IJEA). The IJS started out as a cultural organization in 1969, and the IJEA was founded in 1974 as a business organization aimed at providing networking and business opportunities for those interested in working between both countries.

IJA Objectives

The objectives of the IJA are to promote greater economic and business ties between Ireland and Japan and to foster mutual understanding between the peoples of both countries, in particular, to encourage and assist in improving the knowledge of the culture of each country within the other. The IJA supports various cultural and educational learning facilities in Ireland for Japanese & Irish children such as the Japanese Saturday Schools and the Japanese Language Teachers in Ireland, who each play a crucial role in educating children in Ireland on Japanese language and culture.

The 2020 IJA Council, Patrons and Membership

The Association is run by an elected Chairperson, Vice-Chair, and 10-12 corporate and ordinary council members. The election takes place at the Annual General Meeting. The Council meets nine times a year. In total the IJA currently has 37 active Corporate members and a45 active individual members (Individual/Family and Ex JET/Student/Teacher members).  The 2020 IJA Patron Member is Allied Irish Banks (AIB) and the 2020 IJA Travel Partner is Finnair. The elected IJA Council for 2020 is as follows:

Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson, Ex-Officio

  • Raymond Hegarty (Chairperson)
  • Yasuyuki Ozeki, JETRO (Vice-Chairperson)
  • Darina Slattery, Unique Japan Tours (Ex-Officio)

Corporate Members:

  • Colin Murray, Retro Vino
  • Eoghan Howe, BOI Corporate Banking
  • Donagh Morris, MUFG Investor Services
  • Graham Ryan, Yamamori
  • Niall Moriarty, AIB Corporate Banking
  • Shane Geraghty, Dillon Eustace
  • Tsugumi Yamamoto, Grant Thornton Ireland

Individual Members:

  • Eddie Hughes, Individual Member
  • Hiro Ino, Individual Member
  • Hiroaki Ozaki, Individual Member
  • Verity Swan, Individual Member
  • Zachary Schroeder, Individual Member

Mr. Sou Watanabe, Embassy of Japan in Ireland also attends the Council Meetings as an Honorary Member.

We also acknowledge the significant and important contribution the late Mr. Tom Hardiman, who sadly passed away in May 2020, to the establishment and successful development of the IJA. Mr Hardiman was a former Director General of RTÉ and was actively involved in several National Organisations including Chairing of the National Board for Science and Technology.   He also served as President of the Confederation of Irish Industry, the Marketing Institute of Ireland, the Dublin Chamber of Commerce and was an active member on the National Planning Board and Telecommunications Review Group.

On an international level, Mr. Hardiman fostered close relations between Ireland and Japan resulting in his being awarded the Japanese Order of the Rising Sun by the late Emperor Hirohito in 1986, the second European to be so honoured. He chaired the Asia Europe Foundation and was also Chairman of the Chester Beatty Library in Dublin


The impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic in 2020 and the resulting Government restrictions has severely limited the ability of the IJA to hold physical events. However, in a typical year the IJA organizes approx. 15-20 culture and business events - almost half of these are organized in partnership with our corporate members. 

During 2020 most of our events have taken place online which has proved to be a highly successful way to engage with our members and followers & to attract attention of wider public.   The IJA also continues to support Japanese culture events in Ireland (e.g., Experience Japan Festival, Japanese Film Festival, JLTI Japanese Speech Contest, UCD Japan Fair), we support 2 schools for Japanese children in Ireland (DSJC and Japanese School of Ireland), and work together with the Embassy of Japan to promote their events in Ireland. Conversely last year, 2019 was an extremely busy year for the IJA, especially with the Rugby World Cup taking place in Japan which created a lot of interest in Japan here in Ireland. Approx. 16 business and culture events were organized throughout the past year (14 events in 2019 and 2 events in 2020), including Japanese language courses, free Japanese conversation group meetings in cooperation with TCD, business briefings in cooperation with the IJA Corporate members, RWC Travel and Culture Day, Sushi & Sake experience, exclusive fine dining event at Michelin star restaurant Ichigo Ichie, IJA Annual Dinner, Annual Golf Outing, Japanese Noh ‘Between the Stones’ tour in Ireland and Bounenkai celebration at the end of the year.

The IJA supported four organizations with donations in 2019: Dublin School for Japanese Children (DSJC), Japanese School of Ireland, Experience Japan festival in Dublin and 17th Japanese Speech Contest. 

The Ushioda Scholarship was established in honour of Dr. and Mrs. Ushioda’s major contribution to the development of the Ireland Japan Association and Ireland-Japan relations, and to underpin the association’s strong commitment to supporting Japanese studies in Ireland. In 2019, the scholarship was awarded to Sophia Herar of DCU.

We look forward to 2021 when perhaps we can suppress the Corona Virus and return to our more normal member activities.  We also look forward to developing closer links with the IJCC in 2021.


IJA's upcoming webinars:

  • 18 Nov | New business opportunities between Japan and Ireland - Check the details HERE.
  • 27 Nov | From Mayo to Tokyo: The McGowan Trilogy across borders - Check the details HERE.

The IJA and IJCC are continuing to work together to hold an array of activities of shared interest across our respective memberships. Please keep an eye on both websites and SNS pages to view upcoming events.