NINTH CARICOM-Japan Consultation
5-6 November 2002
The Ninth Caribbean Community (CARICOM)-Japan Consultation was held at MITA KAIGISHO Conference Hall in Tokyo on 5-6 November 2002. The delegation of CARICOM was headed by Ms. Fay Housty, Director of Foreign Policy and External Economic Relations of the CARICOM Secretariat and that of Japan by Ken Shimanouchi, Director-General of the Latin American and Caribbean Affairs Bureau, Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The Meeting received a message from Ms. Yoriko Kawaguchi, the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan in which she extended a warm welcome to the CARICOM delegation and noted that since the first Ministerial-Level Meeting the relations between CARICOM and Japan had become broader and deeper.
Both sides reaffirmed their continued commitment to the ongoing efforts to further strengthen the relationship between CARICOM and Japan.
They shared the view that the cooperative relationship in international fora between CARICOM and Japan should be continued and further enhanced. In this context both sides welcomed the meeting between CARICOM Ministers and Ms. Yoriko Kawaguchi, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan at the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in Johannesburg on 30 August 2002.
Both sides reiterated their abhorrence at the increase in terrorist activities and pledged their continued support for international anti-terrorism measures.
A significant part of the Consultation was allocated to reviewing the implementation of "A New Framework for JAPAN-CARICOM Cooperation for the Twenty-First Century," adopted at the First CARICOM-Japan Ministerial-Level Meeting held in Tokyo on 8 November 2000. Japan reaffirmed its continued commitment to cooperation with CARICOM in various fields based on the "Framework." The CARICOM side expressed appreciation to the Government of Japan for its technical and financial assistance in a number of areas. They recognised in particular the US$300,000 project funded by the Japan Human Resources Development Fund (established with UNDP) to support the establishment of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) and the commencement in August 2002 of a three-year project-type technical cooperation programme with the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Response Agency (CDERA) to improve its comprehensive capability to manage disasters. (A complete list of projects is attached as Annex A (PDF).)
The CARICOM side reported on the progress made in the construction of the Headquarters building for the CARICOM Secretariat which commenced in May 2002. They reiterated the gratitude of the Governments of the CARICOM Region for the interest of the Government of Japan in the construction of the Headquarters building.
Both sides expressed satisfaction at the outcome of the Caribbean Fair which has been underway in Japan since August 2002. This Fair comprises a series of events including the Caribbean Music Fair aimed at showcasing Caribbean culture and products as well as promoting the Caribbean as an attractive destination for Japanese tourists.
In this regard, the CARICOM side welcomed the opportunity to meet with representatives of the Japan Association of Travel Agents (JATA) in a seminar held on November 5, 2002 to exchange views on the Japanese Travel Industry and its tourism promotion and marketing for the Caribbean States.
It was noteworthy that CARICOM participated for the first time in the World Travel Fair, held in Japan from 20-22 September 2002. Seminars on the Caribbean were also held in Japan in September 2002 to introduce Caribbean history and culture to the Japanese public. Several prominent Caribbean intellectuals took part in these events including Professor Rex Nettleford, Vice Chancellor of the University of the West Indies (UWI), Dr. Lester Efebo Wilkinson, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Human Development, Youth and Culture, Trinidad and Tobago, Professor Pierre Buteau, National University of Haiti and Professor Jerome Lloyd Egger, National Institution of Higher Training of Teachers of Suriname.
A banana paper project was also promoted through exhibitions in various cities including Yokohama, Osaka, Tokyo (United Nations University) as well as at the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in Johannesburg.
The Caribbean Exhibition was the climax of the activities designed to introduce various Caribbean products to Japanese traders and consumers. This exhibition opened on November 5 in Tokyo and was held over the period 5-8 November 2002, simultaneously with the Consultation. The CARICOM side thanked the Government of Japan and Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) for the assistance which it had provided towards making the event a success. (A detailed report of the Caribbean Fair is attached as Annex B.)
Both sides noted that the Japan-CARICOM Friendship and Cooperation Fund completed its first year of operation and that its resources had been effectively utilized for the Caribbean Fair.
It was acknowledged that Japanese history and culture was effectively promoted through the staging of Japan Weeks in several CARICOM countries.
The CARICOM side reiterated its implacable opposition to the continued use of the Caribbean Sea for the transport of radioactive materials and emphasized the importance of the Caribbean Sea to the economic well being of its citizens. They further expressed concern that the transport of radioactive materials could have a grave impact on the integrity of its fragile ecosystems in the event of an accident, emphasizing that the CARICOM side respected the right of freedom of navigation on the high seas and Japan's right to choose energy sources suitable for its needs. Japan reiterated that it was keenly aware of the interests and concerns of CARICOM and expressed its hope to continue constructive dialogue with CARICOM on this issue.
Both sides reaffirmed their continued commitment to the implementation of the "Framework," including the holding of the Second CARICOM-Japan Ministerial Level Meeting in 2003, the details of which will be agreed through diplomatic channels.
The CARICOM side expressed their sincere appreciation to the Government of Japan for the hosting of the Ninth CARICOM-Japan Consultation.
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