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Dr Declan Downey Awarded with Commendation of the Foreign Minister of Japan

Dr Declan Downey Awarded with Commendation of the Foreign Minister of Japan

The Foreign Minister of Japan, Mr MOTEGI Toshimitsu, has awarded a Commendation to Dr Declan Downey in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the promotion of mutual understanding between Japan and Ireland. He is amongst 172 individuals and 65 groups worldwide to be so honoured. 

This year marks the 25th year in which Dr Downey has taught Japanese history at UCD - the only Irish university to offer dedicated Japanese History courses at degree level. As a leading researcher in Japanese studies in Ireland, Dr Downey has played an important role in helping the development of the UCD Japanese Studies Group (UCD Japan), in fostering academic links with Japan, and in encouraging students to pursue Japanese studies at both undergraduate and graduate levels.  He has a profound knowledge of the history of Japanese diplomacy, and he is preparing a biography of Prime Minister YOSHIDA Shigeru. As an advisor to the Asian Strategy Committee, Department of the Taoiseach, Government of Ireland (1998-2005), and as a member of the Board of Trustees of Chester Beatty Library (2012-17), Dr Downey was actively engaged in promoting understanding and cooperation between Japan and Ireland. His significant achievements include collaborating in cultural and academic activities of the Embassy of Japan in Ireland, such as a symposium in UCD to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Meiji Restoration in 2018, and a public seminar on the Japanese Imperial Family on the occasion of Emperor Naruhito‚Äôs accession in 2019.

The Commendations of the Foreign Minister of Japan are awarded to individuals and groups with outstanding achievements in international fields, in order to acknowledge their contributions to the promotion of friendship between Japan and other countries and areas. The Commendations also aim to promote the understanding and support of the Japanese public for the activities of the recipients.

The School congratulates Dr Downey on the Commendation and his work in developing the study of Japanese history in Ireland.