Japan-Fiji Relations

October 23, 2020
Statement by Parliamentary Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs NAKANISHI at the 50th Anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Japan and Fiji
On October 22, the Japanese Embassy in Fiji held a cultural event to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Japan and Fiji. As part of the event, the following vide message from Japanese Parliamentary Vice Minister Nakanishi was screened.

Prime Minister Bainimarama, Distinguished guests, Ladies and gentlemen,

Bula Vinaka! Hello!

I would like to extend my heartfelt congratulations on the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Japan and the Republic of Fiji, as well as the 50th anniversary of your country's independence. I would like to sincerely express my gratitude for the attendance of Prime Minister Bainimarama and his fellow citizens of Fiji.
On 16 September, Prime Minister SUGA began Japan's first new administration in 7 years and 8 months. I am confident that the friendly Japan-Fiji relationship will deepen even further under the new administration. 

I have visited Pacific island countries several times in the past, and feel a deep connection to them. I am from Kochi Prefecture, and at the 8th Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting (PALM8), 14 Japanese local governments, including Kochi Prefecture, established the ''Network between the Pacific Island Countries and Japanese Governors (PALM&G),'' and have since promoted exchanges with Pacific island countries, including Fiji. Since I am a Parliamentary Vice Minister in charge of Japan's diplomacy toward Pacific Island countries, I would like to enhance Japan's relations with Pacific island countries, including bilateral relations with Fiji, even personally. Once COVID-19 is overcome, I hope to visit Fiji and look forward to seeing all of you.

Due to the constraints caused by COVID-19, unfortunately, it is difficult to visit Fiji. However, it is my pleasure to celebrate together with the people of Fiji through a recorded Japanese drum performance and this congratulatory message. I especially hope you will enjoy the parts of the drum performance inspired by Fijian culture. Apart from the music and dance, the hospitality visible through the smiles of Fijians, a spirit of respect for others and for the elderly, and a culture of sharing are common to our two peoples.

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Japan has given assistance in the healthcare field by providing healthcare and medical equipment, including X-ray examination vehicle and other X-ray equipment. Japan will continue to stand by, and strongly support, Fiji.

Fiji is an important partner for Japan, as neighbours across the Pacific Ocean. There are many exchanges at the grassroots level, such as Japanese students studying in Fiji, and Fijian students studying in Japan. Once again, thank you for Fiji's assistance this April in repatriating Japanese citizens, including exchange students who wished to return to Japan. I strongly hope that conditions related to the COVID-19 pandemic will improve and that youth exchanges will resume.

Former Foreign Minister KONO visited Fiji last year. This underscores the special importance Japan places on Fiji, which is a major hub in the Pacific and plays a key role in ensuring a stable and prosperous Pacific island region. This February, Japan dispatched a public-private joint economic mission to Fiji, and people-to-people exchanges have been further enhanced through sports exchanges, including Rugby.

Next year, Japan will host the 9th Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting in Mie Prefecture in addition to the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games. We very much look forward to Prime Minister Bainimarama's visit on those occasions, and to having fruitful discussions on the important issues Pacific island countries face.

In closing my remarks, I wish for the further development of Japan-Fiji relations on this 50th anniversary and I hope to personally contribute to enhancing our bilateral relationship.

Thank you very much. Vinaka Vakalevu.

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