October Document of the Month
Taoiseach Jack Lynch & Máirín Lynch Visit Japan, August 1968
Ireland and Japan, two island nations lying on opposite sides of the globe, have enjoyed excellent relations since the establishment of formal diplomatic ties in 1957. The following decade saw both nations steadily increase economic and trade links from an almost non-existent base. Those links received two significant boosts in 1968. In February of that year the Japanese government appointed Bunshichi Hochi as its first resident ambassador in Dublin. Six months later, Taoiseach Jack Lynch and his wife Máirín arrived in Japan for a formal three-day visit – the first by an Irish head of government. Along with Hochi’s appointment, the visit cemented the growing importance of Japan to Ireland’s economic development. Two years later several Irish state and semi-state bodies participated at the 1970 World’s Fair in Osaka, and by the end of 1973 the Industrial Development Authority and Córas Tráchtála had established a presence in Japan. Perhaps most important was the decision by the Department of Foreign Affairs to open an embassy in Tokyo, with Robin Fogarty appointed as Ireland’s first resident ambassador to Japan in September 1973. Annual delegations of Irish businessmen travelled to Japan in the following years, with the Minister for Industry and Commerce, to seek new business opportunities.
Letter from Hugh McCann, Department of External Affairs, to Daniel Ó Súilleabháin, Taoiseach’s Department, 24 June 1968. McCann outlines the position regarding the potential opening of an Irish embassy in Japan.
Letter from A.R. Martin, Gulf Oil, to Taoiseach Jack Lynch, 31 May 1968. The Taoiseach’s visit to Japan was initially prompted by a private invitation to his wife, Máirín, to formally launch Gulf Oil’s supertanker Universe Ireland. Gulf Oil were then in the midst of constructing a major oil terminal on Whiddy Island in Bantry Bay, Co. Cork, for trans-shipment of oil from the Middle East to European refineries.
Cover of 5 November 1968 issue of Éire Ireland, the bulletin of the Department of External Affairs. The image depicts Mairín and Jack Lynch at the Ishikawajima-Harima Heavy Industries shipyard in Yokohama on 15 August 1968, where Mrs Lynch launched the Universe Ireland supertanker.
Letter from Mr T. Nagasawa to Taoiseach Jack Lynch, 13 August 1968, enclosing a gift of Guinness brewed at the Sapporo Brewery in Tokyo and inviting him to visit.
Receipt for $240 in American Express Travelers Cheques, purchased for Taoiseach Jack Lynch in advance of his trip to Asia, which included three days in Japan.
Information leaflet produced by Córas Tráchtála/The Irish Export Board as part of a trade mission to Japan in October 1975.
Ireland’s ambassador to Japan, Robin Fogarty, and Minister for Industry and Commerce, Justin Keating (seated together on couch) meet with Japan’s Foreign Minister, Kiichi Miyazawa, in Tokyo, October 1975.