Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs Toshio Kojima's Attendance at the PIF Post-Forum Dialogue and Visit to Tonga and Fiji
(Outline and Evaluation)
27 August 2001
From 20 to 21 August Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs Toshio Kojima attended the Post-Forum Dialogue with the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) countries held in Yaren, the capital of the Republic of Nauru, conducting bilateral talks with the leaders of each country. Before going to Nauru, the Parliamentary Secretary stopped off in Australia, where he had informal meetings with Japanese nationals residing there. After the Post-Forum Dialogue closed, the Parliamentary Secretary visited the Kingdom of Tonga, where he was given an audience with His Majesty King Taufa'ahau Tupou IV and exchanged opinions with a cabinet minister and the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly. The Parliamentary Secretary also visited the Republic of the Fiji Islands, where he observed the general election and gave encouragement to two Japanese election monitors (United Nations Volunteers [UNV]). (See attachment 1 for schedule)
(Note) Nauru is a coral island with a population of slightly under 10,000 and an area around one quarter that of Izu-Oshima Island. The island is 19 km in circumference and the third smallest independent country in the world after the State of the Vatican City and the Principality of Monaco. At the time of independence, the country was affluent due to its international prominence in the export of phosphorous ore, but these resources had become largely exhausted by the late 1990's and the country's financial position is deteriorating rapidly.
1. The high-level participation of a Japanese Parliamentary Secretary emphasizes the presence of Japan and the promotion of "Pacific Common Frontiers Initiative".
(1) The Post-Forum Dialogue was chaired by former Chairman of the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) and President of the Republic of Kiribati His Excellency Mr. Teburoro Tito, who visited Japan in February this year as a guest of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and attended by the Honorable Phil Goff, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, New Zealand, which helped to produce a livelier exchange of views than on previous occasions in an amicable atmosphere. The Parliamentary Secretary's visit to Nauru was the first by a key political figure from Japan. The meetings made it possible to provide a clear signal of Japan's intention to further promote the "Pacific Common Frontiers Initiative" advocated by Japan at the Second Japan South Pacific Forum Summit Meeting (PALM 2000) held in Miyazaki in April last year (see Attachment 2 for Parliamentary Secretary Kojima's opening remarks at the Post-Forum Dialogue).
(2) At the Post-Forum Dialogue, the Parliamentary Secretary explained progress in the implementation of the "Miyazaki Initiative" and reported plans to hold a symposium on Human Resources Development Policies for Sustainable Development in the Pacific Islands Region, to be jointly hosted by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) and Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) on 24 September of this year in Fiji. The Parliamentary Secretary also announced that Japan would in the future provide extensive cooperation using the Palau International Coral Reef Center completed by Japan's grant aid and the South Pacific Regional Environmental Program (SPREP) Training Centre being built in Samoa.
(3) The PIF countries responded by expressing gratitude for the support provided by Japan thus far and expressed the hope that Japan would hold the next Japan-PIF summit meeting (PALM) in the near future and continue to play an active role in PIF in the future. (Note: the Forum Communique included a statement that it was hoped to hold the next Pacific Islands Summit in 2003.)
(4) The participants agreed on the importance of issues such as climate change, the collection of small arms and the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), and confirmed that they would continue to cooperate on these issues. Meaningful dialogue was held on concerns shared by Japan and the Pacific island nations, such as the activities of the Pacific Island Center (PIC), fisheries issues, regional situations including that of Fiji and the Solomon Islands, and the shipment of radioactive materials, with the participants affirming that dialogue would continue to take place in the future.
2. High-level discussion of matters of common concern including fisheries issues and the shipment of radioactive materials took place during the bilateral talks
(1) During a two-day stay in Nauru, bilateral talks were held with three presidents (President of the Republic of Palau Tommy Remengesau, President of the Republic of Kiribati Teburoro Tito, and President of Nauru Rene Harris), the Prime Minister of Tonga Prince 'Ulukalala Lavaka-Ata, and the Deputy Prime Minister of Fiji Ratu Epeli Nailatikau.
(2) Significant dialogue was held on issues such as whaling (opposition to the idea of a South Pacific whale sanctuary), the Multilateral High Level Conference on the Conservation and Management of Highly Migratory Fish Stocks in the Western and Central Pacific Treaty (MHLC Treaty), ratification of the CTBT, climate change (ratification of the Kyoto Protocol) and the shipment of radioactive materials.
(3) President Rene Harris of Nauru welcomed an invitation to visit Japan as a guest of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in his capacity as Chairman of PIF (schedule to be arranged).
3. The Parliamentary Secretary visited Tonga, where he received an audience with the King and held meaningful dialogue with cabinet minister and the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, thus reaffirming the friendly relationship between the two countries.
(1) During his visit to Tonga the Parliamentary Secretary received an audience with His Majesty King Taufa'ahau Tupou IV and engaged in dialogue with the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly Hon. Veikune and the Minister for Labour, Commerce and Industries Hon. Dr. G. Masasso Paunga, who has experience studying in Japan.
(2) The Royal Family of Tonga and the Imperial Family of Japan have a cordial relationship, and His Majesty King Tupou has great affinity for Japan, as witnessed by his efforts to popularise the Japanese abacus ("soroban") in Tonga. Sumo is also a popular sport there. The Parliamentary Secretary was given a hearty welcome, including a dinner reception hosted by the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly.
(3) The Parliamentary Secretary inspected a sumo practice site where a Japanese Overseas Cooperation Volunteer (JOCV) instructed and attended the opening ceremony of the national soroban championships (which are held once a year. Thirty-three primary and junior high school children from Japan were visiting Tonga at the time as part of an exchange based around the soroban practice).
4. The Parliamentary Secretary observed the general election in Fiji and gave encouragement to election monitors from Japan (United Nations Volunteers [UNV]). Mr. Kojima also stated clearly Japan's support and hope for Fiji's return to democracy.
(1) During his visit to Fuji, the Parliamentary Secretary held discussions with the staff of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) responsible for election monitoring, the Chairman of the Election Administration Committee of the Fijian Government, and United Nations Fijian Electoral Mission (UNFIOM), Gyen (a Vietnamese) on 24 August, the day before the polls opened in the capital of Suva, in which he was informed of the preparations for the election and requested that every effort be made to ensure the safety of the Japanese observers (see Attachment 3 for list of names and site plan).
(2) On 25 August, the first day of the polling, the Parliamentary Secretary observed the general election (in Lautoka and Nandi) and gave encouragement to two Japanese election monitors Keiko Tamura (Lautoka) and Masako Takada (Nandi).
(Note) Since the takeover of the Fijian parliament in May last year, Japan has consistently made clear its position of support for an early return to democracy by Fiji. In cooperation with the United Nations, Japan has provided around 370,000 dollars of electoral assistance for the general elections held between 25 August and 1 September in Fiji, including the despatch of a team of ten Japanese election monitors.
Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs Toshio Kojima's Attendance at the Post-Forum Dialogue with the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) countries held in Nauru and Visit to Australia, Tonga and Fiji
26 August 2001
| 18 August
| Informal meeting with David Farmer, Chief Executive Officer of the Cairns City Council and others
Informal meeting with Japanese nationals living in Cairns
| Attend the Post-Forum Dialogue with PIF countries held in Nauru
Bilateral talks with Prime Minister of Tonga Prince 'Ulukalala Lavaka-Ata, President of the Republic of Palau Tommy Remengesau, President of the Republic of Kiribati Teburoro Tito and Deputy Prime Minister of Fiji Ratu Epeli Nailatikau.
| Talks with President Rene Harris of Nauru
Informal meeting with Japanese nationals living in Brisbane
|Exchange of views with David Russell, President of the Australia-Japan Society of Queensland and of the National Australia-Japan Society in Brisbane.|
| Audience with His Majesty King Taufa'ahau Tupou IV of Tonga, talks with Minister of Labour, Commerce and Industries, Hon. Dr. G. Masasso Paunga, courtesy visit to Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, Hon. Veikune and talks with Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Ms Akosita Fineanganofo
Informal meeting with JOCV and senior volunteers
Inspection of a sumo practice site where a JOCV instructed
| Attend the opening ceremony for the national abacus championships (with the participation of the pupils of an abacus class in Japan in Tonga)
Exchange of views with the Chairman of Election Administration Committee in Fiji, Mr Walter Rigamoto, Director of the UNDP Fiji Office Wisom, and the head of the United Nations Fijian Electoral Mission (UNFIOM), Gyen, and inspection of a centre for reporting the results of the vote counting (Venue: Suva)
| Inspection of polling stations (Lautoka, Nandi), and encouragement of election observers Keiko Tamura (Lautoka) and Masako Takada (Nandi)
Informal meeting with Japanese nationals living in Nandi
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