Government July 2016

Ties for bilateral good

JET alums party with parliamentary group

  • Alums recognised for promoting UK–Japan ties
  • New Japanese ambassador to Japan gave first speech in UK
  • Group praised value of Japan investment in the UK

Members of the JET Programme Alumni Association UK attended a British–Japanese Parliamentary Group reception.

Members of the JET Programme Alumni Association UK attended a British–Japanese Parliamentary Group reception.

For the first time, members of the Japan Exchange and Teaching Programme Alumni Association (JETAA) UK were invited to the annual reception of the British–Japanese Parliamentary Group (BJPG).

The invitation to this prestigious event was received in recognition of the members’ role in promoting UK–Japan ties, professionally, socially or personally.

They represent organisations and Japanese firms as diverse as the Daiwa Anglo–Japanese Foundation; Japan Local Government Centre; Japan External Trade Organization; Japan National Tourism Organization; Toyota Motor Manufacturing (UK), Ltd.; Toshiba of Europe Ltd.; Fujisankei Communications International, Inc.; and Japan In Perspective, a consultancy to support UK–Japan business links. Some work for firms such as Deloitte LLP and ThinkingHatPR, which do business with Japanese clients.

All volunteer for JETAA UK on a national level, while furthering Japan–UK understanding through both their jobs and roles on JETAA.

These members joined the reception, on 14 June, with representatives of the Japan–UK business community, related organisations and the Embassy of Japan in the UK.

On the veranda of the House of Lords, overlooking the Thames River, all enjoyed the opportunity to network, keep up to date with UK–Japan news and meet the new Japanese ambassador to the UK, Koji Tsuruoka.

UK–Japan relationship

Tsuruoka delivered his first speech in the UK, having arrived in London a week previously. He spoke of the strong relationship Japan has built up with the UK, on which he said he hoped to continue building regardless of the outcome of the then-upcoming referendum on the UK’s membership of the European Union.

Roger Godsiff, MP and chair of BJPG, explained the value of Japanese investment into the UK, not only in terms of job creation, but also in training, education and culture. He praised the long-term commitment Japanese firms have made to the UK nationwide, including its local communities.

While networking, Tsuruoka mentioned to some JETAA members that, in the week leading up to the reception, he had already met some former JET Programme participants—evidence of the initiative’s influence in UK–Japan relations.

JETAA UK looks forward to holding its celebration of the 30th anniversary of the JET Programme alongside the BJPG in the same venue early in 2017.

Parliamentary group
Established in the early 1980s, the British–Japanese Parliamentary Group is one of the largest All-Party Country Groups in Westminster. The group has more than 100 members and 20 MPs from all mainstream political parties, including ministers from key government departments. Its membership is also drawn from serving and former members of the House of Lords and diplomatic service.

The aim of the group is to develop and improve links between the British and Japanese parliaments and bilateral businesses, as well as diplomatic and cultural links. It therefore has an important role in fostering good relationships.