Statement by Mr. Joe NAKANO,
Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan,
at the 24th PIF Post-Forum Dialogue

31 August 2012,
Rarotonga, Cook Islands

The Right Honourable Prime Minister Henry Puna,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

( 1. Opening remarks )

  • It is a great pleasure of mine to be here in Rarotonga, for attending the 24th PIF Post-Forum Dialogue. As the first Japanese politician visiting the Cook Islands officially, following Japan's recognition as a state in March 2011, I express my gratitude for the hospitality extended by Prime Minister Puna and his government.
  • One and a half years have passed since the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami struck my country on 11 March 2011. With the warm supports extended by the international community, Japan has been making steady progress for reconstruction. On this occasion, we, once again, extend our gratitude for generous supports from the world, and reiterate our mission to share our experience with the international community.

( 2. Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting )

  • We, Islanders, are reuniting today, three months after the sixth Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting (PALM 6) in Okinawa. As all of us present here are well aware of what we shared there, adopting the Okinawa "Kizuna" Declaration, I am certain that we do not need to trace the detail of the Declaration.
  • Japan is now robustly advancing the implementation of this Declaration in close consultation with each of Forum Island Countries (FICs). In order to follow up and review the key PALM 6 outcomes, Japan will host the second PALM Ministerial Interim Meeting in 2013. With the constructive input and cooperation from PIF members, we hope that the Ministerial Interim Meeting will provide us with a pivotal impetus for PALM 7 scheduled to be held in 2015.
  • Today, let me remind you of two important elements of the Okinawa "Kizuna" Declaration relevant to today's agenda: maritime issues and sustainable development.

( 3. Maritime issues )

  • As a responsible maritime state, Japan is determined to play an proactive role towards effective management and sustainable utilisation of maritime resources, particularly by extending cooperation for enhancing Island countries' capacity in this field. In PALM 6, we reaffirmed the importance of maximising and securing long-term benefits from the region's fishery resources. This can be achieved through enhanced participation by Island countries in the conservation and sustainable management initiatives.
  • In this regard, we should reiterate that we are all responsible for ensuring the use of maritime environment and resources in a sustainable manner, based upon established rules. As the Okinawa "Kizuna" Declaration set out, we should recall the importance of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) as a basic framework for maritime order, and reconfirm the crucial role of the international law for the maintenance of peace and security in the Pacific Ocean.

( 4. Development cooperation )

  • Japan has been committed ourselves to development cooperation to construct a better world, regardless of the difficulties we have been facing, attaching great importance to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) as a target for the entire international community.
  • Japan has been leading the international discussion on the post-2015 development agenda by holding informal policy dialogues. Former Prime Minister Naoto KAN will join the High-level Panel of Eminent Persons on the post-2015 development agenda. We will exert our leadership for drawing up new agenda which address the new global reality, while taking Pacific Island countries' positions into full account.
  • In order to promote aid coordination for effective development cooperation in this region, we believe that actual formalities should not create an excessive burden on donors and Island countries. To this end, Japan supports the principles embraced in the Cairns Compact. We continue to encourage development partners, including emerging donors, to join the Cairns Compact and other relevant frameworks, in view of enhancing transparency.
  • We also reiterate the importance of tackling climate change problems, particularly in this region, on which Prime Minister Noda announced, during PALM 6, Japan's readiness to provide seamless support for most vulnerable Pacific Island countries beyond 2012.
  • In PALM 6, we have invited the United States to join the meeting, and their inputs was a great contribution to the outcome of the event. In these contexts, Japan and the United States are going to announce a new joint statement on aid coordination in Pacific island countries on this occasion of the Post-Forum dialogue. We welcome the further engagement of the United States and other like-minded countries in this region.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

( 5.Fiji )

  • Finally, let me touch upon one important issue for peace and prosperity in this region: democracy in Fiji. Prior to my arrival at Rarotonga, I paid a visit to Fiji myself, and I had a frank and constructive discussion with leading figures in the country. Japan welcomes recent efforts towards democracy taken by Fiji as elaborated directly to me by these leading figures. I also welcome their efforts regarding the constitutional consultation process as well as preparations for free and fair elections scheduled no later than 2014, including the electric registration of voters. Japan strongly hopes that this trend will persist and be further enhanced.
  • We believe that enhanced dialogue and cooperation are instrumental in encouraging further democratisation and stability of Fiji. We will continue to cooperate with other island countries even further for enhancing not only bilateral but also regional and multinational cooperation with Fiji, in order to achieve peace and prosperity in the region.

Thank you for your attention.

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