Insight into the Far East

Connor Price (centre) at Iruma Air Base during his visit to Japan.
Connor Price (centre) at Iruma Air Base during his visit to Japan.

A teenage air cadet travelled to the other side of the world to represent the UK in an exchange programme.

Connor Price, of 2344 (Longbenton) Squadron, was joined by a Dutch cadet to take part in the International Air Cadet Exchange (IACE) in Japan.

Among their activities were a visit to the Japanese Self-Defence Air Force, a VIP flight around Tokyo and an exclusive visit to the Hokkaido Mountains.

Connor, 19, of Forest Hall, said: “It was the best of experience of my life so far. The flight around Tokyo was incredible.

“Usually, no one is allowed to fly in the air space around The Sky Tree – the tallest building in Japan – but we were given permission and the view was amazing.

“The Japanese Air Self-Defence Force is very different to the RAF and it was really interesting to see its aircraft and their capabilities.”

Connor was also able to experience Japanese culture.

He said: “We visited a village area built 250 years ago during the Edo period and it was very different to Newcastle’s Grey’s Street and the Victorian buildings we live amongst today.

“We got a private tour of the Diet Building, where we met the Prime Minister Shinzō Abe, and had tea with him.

“He was really nice and took an interest in me and what I have done in the Air Cadets; it was very surreal telling the Prime Minister of Japan about Longbenton Squadron.

“It was really interesting learning how their constitution works and comparing the similarities and differences with ours and that of the Netherlands.”

Connor was also able to relax on the trip, enjoying a three-day skiing trip.

“I’ve made some lifelong friends and the hosts were very welcoming, friendly and organised, and I sincerely thank them,” he added.

“I got to see as much as Japan had to offer in the few weeks that I was there and I’ll certainly visit again in the future.”

For more information on Longbenton Squadron visit www.2344.org.uk