Statement by Dr Tsuyoshi Yamaguchi,
Parliamentary Senior Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan,
at the PIF Post-Forum Dialogue
September 9, 2011
- Good morning. My name is Yamaguchi, Parliamentary Senior Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs. I am very glad that I could make my first visit to this region to attend this important Dialogue and meet important friends from various countries. Japan, as a maritime nation, shares the Pacific Ocean with Pacific island countries. We feel great attachment to this region. Let me pledge here that we will do our utmost to enhance the well-being of Pacific island countries and to help keep the region really “Pacific”.
(Response following the Great East Japan Earthquake)
- First of all, I would like to extend our heartfelt gratitude to each country for its warm support after the earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan on 11 March. We will never forget your support at a time of our unprecedented national crisis. Currently, we are working hard to rebuild our country as quickly as possible.
- The situation at Tokyo Electric Power Company’s Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Station is now under control. Of course, there are still many things to be done, including decontamination. We will provide, with maximum transparency, the most-updated and accurate information about the situation. Japan will share any lessons learned from the accident, which I hope will contribute to improving the international nuclear safety.
(Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting (PALM))
- Japan has hosted the Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting or PALM every three years. Japan will host PALM 6 in May next year in Okinawa. We wish to meet the leaders of Pacific island countries at PALM 6. We would like to take the leaders’ views into full account and make this PALM a milestone meeting which truly enhances the well-being of the people of Pacific island countries.
- We have decided to ask the Cook Islands, which is the next chair of the PIF, to be a co-chair of PALM 6. Japan established diplomatic relations with the Cook Islands in June this year. We expect that other countries follow suit.
- People-to-people exchanges are important, especially those between young people, as they will be the main actors of our future. We will host the Young Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting or “Young PALM” also in Okinawa on 25 May, one day prior to PALM 6. We would appreciate it if you could help us in inviting promising students.
- In the PALM Ministerial Interim Meeting last October, we announced a plan to expand the scope of the Japan Exchange and Teaching Programme or “JET” to include Pacific island countries. The Programme invites young people from oversees to teach English at high schools in Japan. This year we have invited six assistant language teachers from Pacific island countries through this “JET” programme. We will try to increase this number.
- Japan fully understands that climate change is an extremely serious matter and is a possible security threat to Pacific island countries. Japan will continue to engage constructively in advancing the negotiations based on the Cancun Agreements adopted at COP16. Our final goal is the early adoption of a new comprehensive legally-binding document establishing a fair and effective international framework in which all major economies participate. We would like to work closely with Pacific island countries towards the success of COP 17.
- Japan announced 66 million US dollars worth of assistance to establish the Pacific Environment Community (PEC) Fund at the previous PALM. We are delighted that the PEC fund has been steadily implemented in close cooperation with the PIF Secretariat and each member country. Japan is also executing Fast-start financing as a support in the area of climate change, and we have already implemented 39 million US dollars worth of assistance to Pacific island countries.
(Oil Spill from Shipwrecks)
- The Federated States of Micronesia is asking the international community for assistance in dealing with the environmental problems caused by oil spills from shipwrecks during WWII. We hope that the international community will positively respond to this request. Japan, from an environmental perspective, will look into the possibilities of assistance on this issue.
- Japan shares the view that the Pacific Plan is important for the sustainable economic development of Pacific island countries. In this context, we would like to stress the importance of aid coordination by relevant countries, including emerging donors.
(Situation in Fiji)
- Early restoration of democracy in Fiji is of great importance to peace and prosperity in this region. Whether we can help bring democracy back to Fiji will be a touchstone of regional cooperation especially PIF, and thus requires earnest discussions among all of us in this room.
- To help Fiji hold free and fair election no later than 2014 is vital, and for that purpose, the involvement of international organizations would be necessary. We welcome your opinions on this matter.
- Thank you for your kind attention.
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