Eighth CARICOM-Japan Consultation
4-5 March 2002
St. John's, Antigua and Barbuda
The Eighth Caribbean Community (CARICOM) - Japan Consultation was held at the Jolly Beach Resort in Antigua and Barbuda on 4-5 March 2002. The Delegation of CARICOM Member States was headed by Ambassador Colin Murdoch of Antigua and Barbuda and that of the Government of Japan was headed by Mr. Ken Shimanouchi, Director-General of the Latin American and Caribbean Affairs Bureau, Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The opening session was chaired by Mr. Edwin Carrington, Secretary General of the Caribbean Community, who thanked the Government of Antigua and Barbuda for both hosting and chairing the Meeting. He said that the Region will always be immeasurably grateful for the continued assistance of Japan in many of the areas earmarked for development by the Region. He expressed his appreciation to the Government of Japan for its significant contribution to the construction of the CARICOM Secretariat Building.
In his address, the Hon. Gaston Brown, Minister of Planning, Implementation and Public Service Affairs, Antigua and Barbuda, conveyed the pleasure of that nation in hosting the Meeting. He commented that despite the wide contrast between the nations of the CARICOM Region and Japan, the countries had enjoyed a solid and meaningful relationship and expressed the desire that this relationship be deepened.
Mr. Ken Shimanouchi expressed the view that the CARICOM - Japan relationship was an important one to Japan. He stressed that despite its economic difficulties, Japan remained committed to deepening its ties and to enhancing its commitments to the Region.
He presented to the Meeting a message from H.E. Ms. Yoriko Kawaguchi, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, in which she stated that the CARICOM-Japan Consultation had made valuable contributions to broad-based exchanges. She referred to the First CARICOM-Japan Ministerial-Level Conference in Tokyo and "A New Framework for Japan-CARICOM Cooperation for the Twenty-First Century" adopted at the Conference in November 2000. She stated that Japan had been making every effort to translate the Framework into readily and expressed the intention that Japan would endeavour to build a mature partnership with the Caribbean Community, through close exchange of views.
Both sides noted that this Eighth Consultation was occurring against the backdrop of a recessionary global economy, which had been exacerbated by the events of September 11. However, given their shared objectives and common values, the parties emphasised their desire to continue working towards the strengthening of CARICOM and in addressing the challenges in the international community.
The CARICOM side described the recent social and economic developments in the Caribbean region, including the advancement of the Single Market and Economy, progress made in establishing the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) and efforts made towards addressing the problem of the HIV/AIDS pandemic.
Both sides expressed satisfaction with their close cooperation in the various United Nations bodies. They agreed on the necessity to intensify their efforts to make progress on the important issue of the reform of the UN and exchanged views on the role and structure of the Security Council in this context. The importance of tackling international terrorism was also emphasised. The issues of mutual interest in the upcoming International Conference on Finance and Development and the World Summit on Sustainable Development were discussed.
Both sides acknowledged the need for the early ratification of the Kyoto Protocol and the CARICOM delegation welcomed the news that the Diet (the legislature of Japan) was considering the early ratification of the Treaty. The Japanese side confirmed its continued support for small island developing states (SIDS).
Both sides reiterated their commitment to collaborate in the WTO, especially in the execution of the mandates agreed at the Doha Ministerial Meeting. The CARICOM side drew attention to the agreement to develop a work programme for small economies and requested Japan's recognition and support of this initiative.
Both sides agreed that the prevention of money laundering should be addressed in a concerted manner by the international community. Japan welcomed the initiatives taken by CARICOM states in this area, particularly in view of the events of September 11.
Both sides reviewed their past cooperation, especially since the First CARICOM-Japan Ministerial Conference. Japan acknowledged the importance of regional approaches to development and indicated that it was making every effort toward the strengthening of cooperation with CARICOM Member States and CARICOM as a regional group.
The Japanese side acknowledged the vulnerability of CARICOM Member States, and reiterated its commitment to assist in addressing the attendant problems. Both sides agreed that cooperation between CARICOM and Japan would focus on the areas of good governance, poverty reduction, environmental preservation and disaster prevention, the development of small and medium-sized enterprises, tourism, fisheries, agriculture, trade, investment promotion, and information technology, as outlined in the Framework adopted at the First Ministerial Conference.
Both sides noted that Japanese cooperation with CARICOM Member States focused on linking various cooperation schemes in an organic manner, utilising a range of mechanisms including technical cooperation and grass-root grants. The Japanese side explained that the trust funds established by Japan in the UNESCO, UNDP and other international organisations could be utilised for cooperation activities in areas that Japan's bilateral ODA schemes could not cover, and that the newly created CARICOM-Japan Friendship and Cooperation Fund could also be utilised.
Both sides welcomed the establishment of the Friendship and Co-operation Fund which became operational in 2001.
The CARICOM side expressed appreciation to the Japanese side for assistance which it has provided to facilitate the implementation of the commitments made at the First CARICOM/Japan Ministerial Meeting as reflected in the Attachment to the Communique. In particular they thanked Japan for the approval of 3 million US dollar assistance to the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Response Agency (CDERA) to strengthen the Region's disaster emergency response and rescue operation capabilities and for the implementation of a Project-type Technical Cooperation programme for Caribbean disaster prevention management; the approval of four projects to improve knowledge and capability for the prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS in the amount of 1.2 million US dollars utilising the UN Trust Fund for Human Security established by the contribution of Japan, and the provision of 1.12 million US dollars, from the Japan Fund-in-Trust in UNESCO, to support and improve the regional distance education programme of the University of the West Indies (UWI).
Both sides observed that cultural exchanges are an important aspect of the relationship and welcomed the initiatives being taken to organise a number of events in Japan and CARICOM Member States during the last quarter of 2002. These include a series of events under the generic term "Caribbean Fair" which would be held in Japan and Japan Week in CARICOM Member States.
Both sides noted that from the year 2000, young Jamaicans had been working in Japan in the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Programme and expressed its desire to invite participation from more CARICOM Member States. The Japanese side also reported that Japan had increased the number of Caribbean students qualified for the Japanese government scholarship.
With respect to the Transportation of radioactive material, the Japanese side elaborated on the country's energy needs, policy surrounding the transport and various considerations that guides its operation. They explained the safety and emergency response measures in place to reduce the potential risk involved in sea transport. Looking towards the future, the Japanese delegation also offered updates on the status of the construction of the spent fuel reprocessing plant in Japan. They underscored that they are keenly aware of the interests and concerns of the CARICOM States and they expressed hope to engage in constructive dialogue.
The CARICOM side emphasised that it respected Japan's right to choose an energy source suitable for its needs, but reiterated its concern that the transportation of such materials could have a devastating impact on the integrity of the fragile ecosystems of the Caribbean Sea in the event of an accident. In this regard, the CARICOM delegation emphasised the importance of the Caribbean Sea to the livelihood and well-being of the peoples of the region, especially in the tourism and fisheries industries. Reference was made to the most recent statement by CARICOM Heads of Government in December 2001 in which they reiterated their implacable opposition to this practice especially in relation to the new global challenges to peace and security. In the interim, CARICOM implored Japan to seek alternative solutions to the problem.
Both sides confirmed that they would continue their bilateral cooperation, their support for regional cooperation, and cooperation in international forums, respecting each other's views, and developing the relationship between CARICOM and Japan which had grown closer through the first CARICOM-Japan Ministerial-Level Conference, and diligent follow-up of the Framework for Cooperation adopted at the Conference.
Both sides decided to hold the Ninth CARICOM-Japan Consultation in Japan, in early November 2002. The details would be finalised through diplomatic channels.
CARICOM Member States and Japan expressed to the Government of Antigua and Barbuda their sincere appreciation for the kind hospitality and consideration extended by the Government and people of Antigua and Barbuda in hosting the Consultation.
5 May 2002
Antigua and Barbuda
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