Address by Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi on the occasion of The 3rd Japan - PIF Summit Meeting
May 17, 2003
Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase,
Leaders of Pacific Islands Forum,
Governor Keiichi Inamine,
Let me express my heart-felt appreciation to my colleagues from the Pacific Islands Forum for coming so far to participate in this summit. Even though our countries are scattered over the world's largest ocean, Japan considers each of you a close neighbor. I want to express my warmest welcome to you.
I am personally delighted that this meeting is being held in Okinawa, a group of islands of unique culture and natural beauty. I would like to thank Governor Inamine and the people of Okinawa for their hospitality as the hosting prefecture.
Our most important task at this meeting is to come up with concrete actions to achieve "sustainable development" in a Pacific mold. We want our cultures and our environment to be protected even as we progress. In preparing a development strategy, we should always remember that the beautiful and resource-rich Pacific has been a blessing to all.
At the WSSD meeting in Johannesburg last year, I stated that the key factor in achieving sustainable development is "people". I emphasized the paramount importance of education and health. I also referred to the promotion of trade and investment as necessary for self-reliance and moreover stressed the need to ensure that our children and their children will inherit a "beautiful Earth". Over the next two days, we will discuss actions on all these matters.
At this summit, I intend to set out Japan's plans for cooperation for the efforts of our Pacific friends. Japan will contribute to the promotion of basic education and the development of higher education through the use of information and communication technologies. In the health sector, Japan will make efforts to contain HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases, as well as diabetes. Pacific Islands Exhibition and workshops have been organized on trade and investment. Village development is another area for cooperation. Furthermore, Japan wishes to support regional efforts for peace and for prevention of terrorism and international crime.
I particularly wish to express our active support for environmental initiatives based on Japan's own experiences. For example, Japan is prepared to assist PIF members in promoting waste management and recycling, which are priority issues for my cabinet and which I am told have become serious problems in Pacific Island countries. On environmental conservation, such as of coral reefs, Japan proposes to promote technological transfer, making full use of experiences in Okinawa and the efforts of NGOs. We will also continue to play an active role on global warming. Based on the achievements of the "Third World Water Forum" hosted by Japan last March, we will work on safe drinking water and basic sanitation.
Okinawa has a great role to play on these issues. The experiences of Okinawa can be extremely useful, because Okinawa shares many common challenges with Pacific island countries. People of Okinawa have made strenuous efforts to tackle these problems. We have an exhibition showing activities of Okinawa NGOs and others in the adjoining building, which I hope you will take some time to see after today's session. I would also like to call on the people of Okinawa to promote exchanges with Pacific island countries in the years to come.
I believe that cooperation and coordination among the three major donor countries in the region-Japan, Australia, and New Zealand--would help us better respond to challenges in the region. Support from international organizations and initiatives by NGOs are also indispensable.
The "pacific way" is for people to get together to discuss and to make gradual but steady progress step by step. This building where we are, is called "Bankoku Sinryou Kan," which means "bridge of the nations." I hope this meeting will be based on that spirit. And may our work here today build bridges across the Pacific.
Thank you very much.
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