Irish PM Brian Cowen leads trade mission to Japan

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(15 Jan 2009)
1. Wide of Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen and Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso, zoom in to them shaking hands before sitting down for talks
2. Mid of Cowen talking
3. Wide of Cowen in meeting
4. Mid of Aso
5. Wide of meeting
6. Mid of Cowen, pan to Aso
7. Cowen shaking hands with Yuichiro Anzai, President of Keio University
8. Wide of Cowen walking to podium as audience applauds
9. Cutaway audience
10. SOUNDBITE (English) Brian Cowen, Irish Prime Minister:
“Thank you very much. I think the impact hopefully will be positive, in the sense that what we hope from the Obama administration, and what we’re hearing in terms of the transition that’s taking place, is a very strong commitment to an economic stimulus package within the United States itself, it will be considerable and substantive. We know that this year is going to be a very difficult year in any event, but certainly the commitment that has been demonstrated by his economic team is, we hope, part of a wider international response to lift us out of a global recession as quickly as possible thereafter.”
11. Wide shot of speech
12. SOUNDBITE (English) Brian Cowen, Irish Prime Minister:
“The voice of the United Nations Security Council and the international community must be heard, and the present appalling situation must end now. We need to see immediate implementation of a ceasefire, and I once again call on both sides to end the current hostilities.”
13. Cowen shaking hands with people and leaving, audience applauds
STORYLINE:
Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen met with his Japanese counterpart Taro Aso in Tokyo on Thursday, during his country’s biggest ever trade mission to Japan in an effort to boost investment from the world’s second-largest economy.
Cowen is accompanied by representatives of 70 Irish companies and business organisations, Trade and Commerce Minister John McGuinness and Agriculture Minister Brendan Smith.
Earlier on Thursday, Cowen held a speech at Tokyo’s Keio University, and took questions from students on several subjects.
Speaking on the continuing violence in the Middle East, he called for an immediate implementation of a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas.
“The voice of the United Nations Security Council and the international community must be heard, and the present appalling situation must end now,” said Cowen.
In further comments, he expressed hope that the new US administration would have a positive effect on the world economy and that of Ireland.
Cowen’s six-day trip comes as Ireland grapples with a surging unemployment rate, which jumped to a decade high of 7.8 percent in November.
The Irish government has also forecast its economy will shrink by at least four percent this year.
The prime minister held a seminar with Japanese business leaders in Tokyo on Wednesday, according to an Irish embassy press officer.
Japan’s imports from Ireland totalled 393.3 billion yen (4.4 billion US dollars) in 2008, marking an 18-percent drop from a year earlier, according to the Japanese Finance Ministry.
In 2007, the most recent year for export figures to Ireland, Japan’s exports stood at 188 billion yen (2 billion US dollars), down 1.3 percent from a year earlier.
Cowen hopes to boost bilateral cooperation in research and development for the high-tech and cutting-edge pharmaceutical areas, said the press officer.
He is scheduled to meet Japan’s Emperor Akihito on Friday.

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