On April 20th, 2018, the International School Network visited the British Embassy to interview Mr. Matthew Phillips, the political counsellor. Mr. Phillips described the UK as a diverse region consisting of four different countries, each of them rich in history and tradition. Today, these countries have strong financial centers and several industries in innovative technologies leading the world economy, and the British education systems have also shown great academic results in their students. However, Mr. Phillips admitted that the UK must focus on quite a few issues such as gender inequality, environmental destruction, and the latest topic of the world, Brexit.
Mr. Matthew Phillips had realistic and optimistic views on Brexit, saying that there will definitely be challenges along the way, but it will ultimately create great results. He first emphasized that it is important for the people to know that the goal for this movement is not towards economic or political isolation; although the UK will no longer have legal ties to the European Union, they will continue to work with a variety of countries both inside and outside of Europe. Brexit will officially begin their processes next March, and there are definitely uncertainty about its future regarding citizenship,
trade, businesses, etc. but there is also a huge wave of excitement and many are eager to see how this will affect the world. Mr. Phillips characterized the British as resilient people and that these changes will bring about a fresh start for Britain on the global stage.
With exciting waves of political movements in today’s society, Mr. Phillips emphasized that countries must have strong diplomatic leaders who can efficiently guide its citizens through change. As a diplomat, one of the beauty of his job is that he faces different challenges everyday, and he keeps an optimistic view to try to build stronger relations between the UK and Japan. His message towards the Japanese people who are looking forward to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics is to remind the world why Japan is such a “vibrant, modern, and interesting” country. While the world spotlight is on Japan, he expressed that the country should share their futuristic scenes as well as their deeply rooted traditions. By Nanami Watanabe