The Ninth Japan-CARICOM Consultation
(Overview and Evaluation)
1. CARICOM-Japan Consultation (Vice-Ministerial Level): Schedule and participants
(1) Date: November 5 - 6, 2002
(2) Venue: Tokyo (MITA KAIGISHO Conference Hall)
(a) CARICOM (Caribbean Community): Permanent foreign Secretaries and senior officials of Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, St. Christopher and Nevis, St Lucia, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago; Ms. Fay Housty, Director of Foreign Policy and External Economic Relations of the CARICOM Secretariat (Co-chairperson)
(b) Japan: Mr. Ken Shimanouchi, Director-General of the Latin American and Caribbean Affairs Bureau, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Co-chairperson); Mr. Hitohiro Ishida, Deputy Director-General of the Latin American and Caribbean Affairs Bureau; other officials of the Ministry.
2. Overview of Consultation
(1) Items on the agenda in the consultation include Japan-CARICOM relations, Japan-CARICOM cooperation in international fora, economic cooperation between Japan and CARICOM, and cultural exchanges. The discussions on all of these issues were deeper and of a higher quality than at the previous consultations, and this consultation turned out to be very substantial and meaningful. In the agenda on economic cooperation, Japan gave a detailed explanation of the state of the implementation of "A New Framework for Japan-CARICOM Cooperation for the Twenty-First Century," which was adopted at the CARICOM-Japan Ministerial-Level Meeting held in Tokyo in November 2000. In response, the CARICOM side expressed gratitude for Japan's cooperation and made several proposals for follow-up. On the final day of the consultation, the two sides adopted a joint communique.
(2) The cordial atmosphere in which the consultation was conducted throughout reflected the CARICOM side's acceptance and deep appreciation of the fact that Japan has been steadily implementing the above-mentioned framework of cooperation and that Japan has held various events in the Caribbean Fair on an unprecedented scale during the latter half of this year.
(3) In the consultation, the CARICOM side commented that the CARICOM-Japan Consultation, the policy dialogue channel between Japan and the Caribbean countries, is an exemplary mechanism for CARICOM. The CARICOM side further commented that the CARICOM-Japan Consultation is already being used as a model for consultation with other countries and regions and that they intend to extend the model to more countries from now on. Ms.Housty, Director of Foreign Policy and External Economic Relations of the CARICOM Secretariat, also noted that Japan-CARICOM relations have recently made remarkable progress.
(4) Regarding cooperation in international fora, in-depth discussions took place on such issues as reflecting the position of small island developing states (SIDS) in the World Trade Organization negotiations, and the consistency of WTO agreements and regional integration movements the CARICOM is currently involved. The two sides were also able to have practical consultations on a wide range of themes, including United Nations reform, anti-terrorism measures and support for small island developing states (SIDS) stipulated in "Plan of Implementation," which was adopted at the World Summit on Sustainable Development. The two sides confirmed the continuation of Japan-CARICOM cooperation at the United Nations and other international fora.
(5) The CARICOM side outlined future priority areas for economic cooperation, including a teleconference system to enhance communication among the member countries, technology transfer relating to pest extermination and quarantine for the promotion of fruit exports, support for improving the quality of industrial and processed products, the promotion of regional fisheries, measures against HIV/AIDS (counseling, improvement of test capabilities, prevention of mother-to-child infection), information technology education, and support for the improvement of administrative management capabilities. The CARICOM side added the importance of a regional approach in some fields.
(6) The CARICOM side pointed to the vulnerability of the region and said that, because of the impact of frequent hurricanes, volcanic activity, and other phenomena, support for measures and reconstruction relating to natural disasters was necessary. Also, the CARICOM side expressed strong expectation for Japanese cooperation in order to further reflect the voices of small island developing states in the international community. Specifically, for example, it was noted that demand is high for support for the promotion and diversification of industries through the development of small and medium-sized enterprises.
(7) Regarding the pending issue of the transportation of radioactive materials, a frank exchange of opinions took place.
(8) The CARICOM side expressed deep gratitude for a series of events, including Caribbean music fairs, banana paper exhibitions, and cultural seminars held between summer and fall of this year on the basis of an agreement reached at the above-mentioned Japan-CARICOM Ministerial-Level Meeting. The CARICOM side stressed the necessity of continuing such cultural events. For example, it suggested that an annual cultural exchange program might be held alternately in the CARICOM countries and Japan. It also proposed that the first events on the CARICOM side might be held in conjunction with the Carifesta 2003 in Suriname or, the commemorative events marking the two-hundredth anniversary of the independence of Haiti around January 2004.
(9) Regarding tourism, the CARICOM side stated that it wanted to study the establishment of a permanent office in order to promote tourism in the CARICOM countries among Japanese travelers. It also proposed private-sector consultations between Japan and CARICOM with the aim of promoting tourism.
(10) The Hon. Gaston Browne, Minister of Planning, Implementation and Public Service of Antigua and Barbuda (invited by the Japan External Trade Organization) and H.E. Sir Sidney Poitier, Ambassador of the Bahamas to Japan, delivered speeches at the Caribbean Exhibition, sponsored by CARICOM and JETRO and held at the same time as the Japan-CARICOM Consultation. All the participants in the consultation attended the exhibition. Furthermore, apart from the consultation, a seminar for CARICOM participants and representatives of Japan's main tour operators on tourism was held with the cooperation of the Japan Association of Travel Agents. Discussions at this seminar were lively.
3. Future Issues
In recent times Japan-CARICOM relations have been enhanced in various fields, but unremitting efforts are essential to maintain and further develop these relations. Through holding of the Caribbean Fair and the strengthening of support based on the framework for cooperation adopted at the Japan-CARICOM Ministerial-Level Conference in 2000, Japan-CARICOM friendly and cooperative relations have seen further development. In order to maintain this momentum, it is necessary for Japan to study how Japan can implement various forms of cooperation suited to the needs of the CARICOM countries, and to follow up new fields of cooperation proposed by the CARICOM side this time. On the other hand, as the position of the CARICOM countries is to continue to promote cooperative relations with Japan in the international community, it is expected that cooperation between Japan and CARICOM will be further continued in the United Nations and other international fora.
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