G8 your big shop window, insists Japanese official
A high-level Japanese official has said the upcoming G8 summit offers Northern Ireland a unique opportunity to attract international investment and showcase itself to the world.
Akio Miyajima, who is Minister Plenipotentiary at the Japanese Embassy in London, was speaking during a whistle-stop visit to the province.
He was part of a delegation which travelled to Fermanagh to inspect progress as the county gears up for the G8.
Japanese premier Shinzo Abe will be among the dignitaries as eight of the world's richest countries come together for the high-level meeting in June.
It's the biggest diplomatic event Northern Ireland has ever staged.
And speaking during a visit to the Belfast Telegraph yesterday, Mr Miyajima said he believed it will showcase all that was good about the province.
"I really believe it will show the potential for investment and tourism," he said. "I think this is a good place to do business. Northern Ireland has a wonderful kind of young talent who are well educated, the infrastructure is also very well developed."
Mr Miyajima said up to 200 journalists from Japan could travel to the province for the G8.
"Through those media people's eyes, the focus will be on Northern Ireland," he added.
"We already have a good impression of Northern Ireland, but we really hope this upcoming summit could provide our business community with another close look at the benefits of Northern Ireland."
Mr Miyajima was impressed by his visit here. "I liked Northern Ireland, very much so," he added.
"I found the people very hospitable, and my impression was overwhelmingly positive.
"I am quite assured that the preparations for the G8 are on the right track."
The leaders of the world's wealthiest countries will hold discussions at the Lough Erne resort from June 17-18.
The summit has been organised by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
It will be attended by the leaders of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the UK and the US.
The PSNI said a significant operation will be in place in the lead-up to and during the summit on June 17 and 18 to ensure protesters do not disrupt it and also to protect against possible dissident terrorist attacks.
G8 summits have a long history of attracting large demonstrations, and Fermanagh's lakeside geography will make it difficult for protesters.