Why the Pacific Island Countries are important to Japan?
- Relations between Japan and the Pacific Island Countries, and Japan's cooperation -

1. Relations with Japan

Japan and the Pacific Island Countries have much deeper relations than is generally thought and further strengthening these friendly relations through the dialogue with these countries at the summit level is highly significant.

  • These countries are Japan's neighbors across the Pacific Ocean. They are friendly toward Japan, and close partners who understand and support Japan's position in the United Nations and other international arena.
  • Japan also has deep historical ties with these countries. Before World War II, Japan was granted a mandate to govern some islands by the League of Nations. And during the Pacific War, some islands became the scenes of fierce battle. Today there are many Japanese descendants living in those islands over which Japan had governed, and a number of people still visit those battling grounds to collect bones of Japanese soldiers who died there and to pay a tribute to their memory.
  • Suppliers of food, resources, and fuel
  • Marine resources: The Pacific Island Countries have extremely huge exclusive economic zones despite the smallness of their national land mass and they are one of the leading production areas for tuna, bonito, and other marine resources. Many Japanese fishing vessels are operating in the area as well. In Kiribati there is a fisheries training school operated with assistance from the Japan Federation of Bonito and Tuna Fishing Cooperatives; graduates work on board of Japanese fishing vessels.
  • Timber products: Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, and New Zealand account for about 20% of Japan's import volume of logs.
  • The Pacific region is also an important route to transport products and natural resources to and from Japan. Japan's imports from Australia (Australia supplies half of iron ore, coal, and raw cotton that Japan imports) and Japan's exports to Australia and New Zealand pass through this sea area. Therefore, the stability of this area and friendly relations with coastal countries are vital for Japan.

2. Japan's assistance to the Pacific Island Countries

Japan's official development assistance (ODA) to the Pacific Island Countries amounted to approximately $100 million in 2001. This figure accounts for about 1.4% of Japan's bilateral ODAs. Japan is one of the largest donors to this region, and has major presence in the area.

Japan's Cooperation to the PIF 1: Share of Japanese Assistance for Each PIF
Country/Territory (Average for 2000-2001)

(Figures in parentheses show the ranking of Japan among donor countries to that country/territory.)
(Source: Development Assistance Committee, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development)
Country/Area Share of Japan's ODA
(Japan's rank)
Country/Area Share of Japan's ODA
(Japan's rank)
Fiji 50.5% (1) Western Samoa 25.7% (1)
Kiribati 34% (1) Solomon Islands 5.1% (4)
Marshall Islands 5.6% (2) Tonga 46% (1)
Micronesia 4.2% (2) Tuvalu 37.1% (1)
Nauru 21.8% (2) Vanuatu 12.8% (5)
Palau 52.3% (1) Cook Islands 6.6% (5)
Papua New Guinea 24.2% (2) Niue 0.03% (3)

Japan's Cooperation to Pacific Island Countries 2: Technical Cooperation
(Fiscal 2001; total number)
Acceptance of trainees 553 persons
Dispatch of experts 75 persons
Dispatch of survey missions 164 persons
Dispatch of Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers 382 persons
(Photo courtesy of the Japan International Cooperation Agency)

More about Japan and Pacific island region!

More about Japan's economic cooperation!
(Copyright: JICA)

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