30 years of Japan inspiration in the UK

31st March 2017

30 years of Japan inspiration in the UK

More than 200 guests from all areas of the Anglo–Japanese community, including government, business, universities, organisations and JET alumni attended a reception at the Houses of Parliament on 16th March.

It was hosted by the British–Japanese Parliamentary Group (BJPG), one of the largest All Party Country Groups in Westminster, which has been in operation since the early 1980s.

Organised by JETAAUK and the BJPG, the event celebrated 30 years since British participants on the JET Programme first returned to the UK from Japan, in 1987. In attendance was Koji Tsuruoka, Japanese Ambassador to the UK, who gave his opening remarks after a welcome speech by Roger Godsiff MP, chair of the BJPG and Labour MP for Birmingham Hall Green.

Both leaders spoke of the remarkable success of the JET Programme, its role in promoting grass-roots understanding of both cultures and the importance of its alumni in furthering UK–Japan cultural, educational and economic links. Many alumni work at high levels in Japan-related areas.

Sarah Parsons, JETAAUK Chair, gave a speech to re-iterate the strength of the JET alumni network and to thank JETAA volunteers, who have, over the past 30 years, created opportunities for this network to flourish, linking Japan-related organisations and communities in the UK. Read Sarah's full speech.


Guests watched a short video made by JETAAUK that highlighted the profound effect the JET Programme has on participants’ lives and future career choices. The video also features some of the ways in which JETAAUK has been involved over the past 30 years, including appearances on Blue Peter and Radio 4, business networking and Career Days, promotion of Japanese culture in schools, Japanese language learning and involvement in local Japanese festivals.

The speakers were joined by Baroness D’Souza CMG to perform a traditional sake barrel breaking ceremony before guests enjoyed networking overlooking the River Thames. Sake was generously provided by the UK-based Sake Samurai Association, while entertainment was performed by Okinawan folk and classical music group, London Okinawa Sanshinkai.

When asked about the importance of JETAAUK, Sarah said, ““Given that Japan is currently one of the most important trade partners for the UK, JET alumni have had a huge part to play in this and will continue to do so. On the very day of the event, Toyota announced a massive investment into the UK. One of our JETAA committee members played a key role in this and would not have been working for this had it not been for his experiences on the JET Programme. I myself am working to further the economic links between our two countries and there are literally JET alumni in every corner of Japan–UK organisations”

To watch the JETAAUK video, click here. Password: JET001

Anniversary celebration update

Almost half a year has passed since the 30th Anniversary Commemorative Ceremony and Reception was held in Japan last November.

While we were honored to have all of the country representatives of the new JETAA-I attend the ceremony, there were many alumni who could not make the trip to attend the celebrations.

So that even more alumni throughout the world can learn of the 30th anniversary projects and events, CLAIR has created some new webpages on the JET Programme website with video footage of the ceremony as well as reports on the various projects and events.

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