Irish diplomat promotes exchanges

Ireland’s Ambassador to Japan Padraig Murphy said Friday he hopes to increase exchanges between the two countries, especially in the fields of tourism and education.

Japan is “the seventh most important market” to Ireland, Murphy said during a visit to The Japan Times, but he added his country hopes to strengthen relations in the future.

Ireland hopes to attract more Japanese tourists, Murphy said, pointing out the many golf courses to be found in his homeland. But efforts have been hindered by the lack of direct flights between the two island nations, he added.

Murphy assumed the ambassador’s post in 2001.

Ireland is a nonpermanent member of the U.N. Security Council and has worked to stay within the framework of peacekeeping activities under the United Nations.

As a result, Murphy said, Ireland will take a different stance to the United States and Britain in the face of a possible war with Iraq.

“There is no possibility of us going to Baghdad,” he said.