HISTORY was made in Tullamore last week as the first visit by a Japanese Ambassador to Ireland was made to the town.
His Excellency, Ambassador of Japan to Ireland, Chihiro Atsumi visited the town on Friday along with the Second Secretary at the Embassy of Japan in Ireland, Susumu Kiyosawa.
Mr Atsumi was presented with “Stories from Sacred Landscape” by Caimin O’Brien by Chairman of Offaly County Council Danny Owens.
“This is an historic day for Ireland to have the first Japanese Ambassador to visit the county. Tullamore Chamber of Commerce will highlight all the good things in the town,” said Cllr Owens.
He said he was aware that Mr Atsumi had an interest in archaeology and he was delighted to present him with the book, which features poetry, folklore and information about monastic buildings in the county.
President of Tullamore Chamber of Commerce Joe O’Brien said it was a fantastic for a small town like Tullamore to have a visit from such a distinguished person as the Ambassador. “We were delighted to welcome Freund to the town,” he said and added that the town hoped to build on business development with Japan.
Mr Atsumi described Tullamore as a “beautiful town” and was delighted to visit it for the first time.
He told those gathered to welcome him at the Tullamore Court Hotel that he was now five months living in the country.
“Ireland and Japan have had a close relationship for many years. We hope to strengthen those ties,” he said.
He spoke of Japans recent troubles with both the Tsunami and the earthquake earlier this year. “We were overwhelmed by the kind support of the Irish people and the people of Tullamore,” said Mr Atsumi and he said he was aware that a number of charitable events were held in the town to raise funds.
“I would like to express our heartfelt thanks for your kind gesture,” he said.
He said Ireland was very attractive for foreign investors, including Japan. He said there were so many young people and it was investment friendly with its tax system.
Mr Atsumi said Ireland was recovering from an economic crisis, and while the Eurozone was still not stable, he was sure the country would recover from this situation some time in the near future.
He explained that 45 Japanese companies had already invested in the country, including one, Freund, in Tullamore. He said the company, who will shortly celebrate its first anniversary in the town, were very happy with their offices in the town.
Mr Atsumi visited the Freund plant, before touring the R&R company in the Axis business park. He was then taken on a tour of the Tullamore Dew Heritage Centre and finally on a tour of O’Connor Park.