Prime Minister's wife joins alumni for lunch
When Akie Abe visited London in April with her husband, Japan’s Prime Minister, she requested a lunch meeting with JETAA UK members. The group was joined at a Japanese restaurant by Mrs Tsuruoka, wife of the Japanese ambassador to the UK; Shinichi Iida, minister for public diplomacy and media at the Embassy of Japan in London; and Akie’s personal assistant.
From left: Rob Gorton, Sarah Parsons, Akie Abe, Mrs Tsuruoka, Marie-Claire Joyce and Dr Agnus Lockyer.
The discussion was lively and open, covering subjects such as JET Programme participants’ experiences in Japan, the promotion of Japan in the UK and the progress of Womenomics: the policies set by the Japanese government to raise the labour participation of women in Japan and decrease the gender gap.
All JETAA UK members also shared their post-Japan experiences and how they have continued their connection to Japan.
Sarah Parsons, chair of JETAA UK, is founder and managing director of Japan in Perspective, a company that facilitates better business with Japan. She is a trustee of the Japan Society of the UK and lectures on Japan-related topics at various universities including SOAS, University of London. Sarah is also currently conducting research into gender roles in Japan.
Marie-Claire Joyce joined the Foreign & Commonwealth Office after her JET experience and had two assignments at the British Embassy in Tokyo. She has spoken at the JET Returners’ Careers Day and run a workshop on Working for the FCO.
Rob Gorton is head of corporate planning at Toyota Motor Manufacturing UK and played an integral part in securing Toyota’s investment in the UK (announced in March 2017) since the UK’s vote to leave the European Union. Rob is chair of JETAA Midlands and has spoken at the JET Returners’ Careers Day on a regular basis.
Dr Angus Lockyer is a lecturer in the History of Japan at SOAS and often speaks at Japan-related events and conferences. He contributed his academic knowledge to the incredibly successful Hokusai exhibition at the British Museum, running until 26th August, 2017.
At the end of the lunch meeting, gifts were exchanged. All JETAA UK members received some Akie Abe branded goods whilst Sarah presented Akie with some regional specialities from Lincolnshire.