The Fifth Japan-CARICOM Ministerial-Level Conference
September 21, 2016
On Wednesday, September 21, Mr. Fumio Kishida, Minister for Foreign Affairs, who was visiting New York to attend the United Nations General Assembly, held the Fifth Japan-CARICOM Ministerial-Level Conference with the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) member states(Note 1), which comprise of 14 countries in the Caribbean region. The overview of the conference is as follows. (Attendees from the CARICOM side were the Hon. Sir Louis Hilton Straker, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Commerce of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (Co-Chair), the Hon. Maxine McClean, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade of Barbados, Senator the Honorable Dennis Moses, Minister of Foreign and CARICOM Affairs of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, and others (Note 2)).
- At the outset, Foreign Minister Kishida explained that CARICOM and Japan share fundamental values such as the rule of law and democracy, and have built an amicable and cooperative relationship over many years. Foreign Minister Kishida stated that Japan is steadily implementing support for CARICOM based on the three pillars(Note 3) of Japan's CARICOM Policy announced by Mr. Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister, in 2014. Foreign Minister Kishida noted that mutual exchanges between Japan and CARICOM are increasing and cooperation is also deepening in the international arena, and he hopes to further strengthen the relationship in the future. In response, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Saint Vincent and Grenadines Straker, the chair for the CARICOM side, and the representatives of other countries noted that Japan and the CARICOM member countries are partners that have maintained firm and friendly relations over many years, and expressed their intention to continue advancing Japan-CARICOM relations in the future.
- Foreign Minister Kishida explained that in the future, Japan will also continue to promote exchanges at various levels and cooperation that helps the CARICOM member countries to overcome the vulnerabilities they face in the fields of the environment, disaster risk reduction, fisheries, and energy, including assistance for ODA graduate countries, and stated that he hopes to further enliven friendly cooperation through sports towards the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games.
- The CARICOM side expressed gratitude for the assistance Japan extends to ODA graduate countries and voiced expectation that cooperation in the field of environment, disaster risk reduction, fisheries and energy fields will continue. In addition, the CARICOM side noted that Japan understands well that small island developing states have particular vulnerabilities, and that traditional income-level categories do not reflect the actual circumstances of these small island states. The CARICOM side stated that it hopes to secure support of Japan with regard to this point at the international organizations including the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), World Bank.
- At the conference, a discussion also took place on climate change, sustainable use of living marine resources, international cooperation for disaster management and risk reduction, United Nations Security Council reform and the state of affairs in Asia, and Japan and CARICOM confirmed that they will continue to cooperate in the international arena.