Japan, a positive force in the Pacific region
Fiji naturally values its relations with Japan – and for many good reasons. As the eighth Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting (PALM8) proper gets underway today in Iwaki, Fukishima, we can expect a renewed commitment to strengthening bilateral ties and a focus on areas of mutual interest.
Japan, like other friends of Fiji, recognise and support our leadership in global initiatives and forums. Japan’s bigger economy (the third biggest in the world) has a lot of benefits for our smaller, but growing economy.
This will be made easier with the only Fiji-Japan direct flight by Fiji Airways set to start on July 3. Flights will be scheduled for Tuesday, Friday and Sunday every week.
The move is expected to increase business traffic and trade relations.
It also opens a direct gateway to one of the most populated countries in the world. The impact is expected to go beyond more tourists visiting our shores.
Fiji Airways is offering more than 80,000 seats per year. During their bilateral meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Wednesday, Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama acknowledged the support Japan rendered to vulnerable nations in the region.
He said Japan was a positive force in the Pacific region, with similar economic, security, environmental and political interests.
Japan’s support of the COP23 Presidency was also noted along with their efforts to raise Nationally Determined Contribution ambitions.
Fiji is also counting on Japan to assist in our efforts on adapting to our own climate-vulnerable economy. The revelation yesterday that high school and primary school students from PALM countries will be invited to attend the Paralympics and Olympic Games in 2020 will further boost our bilateral relations.
With upcoming Rugby World Cup next year, we can expect a close working relationship between our two rugby fraternities.
Fiji Airways Flying Fijians Rugby 15s coach John McKee visited Japan in December to carry out training site inspection for the RWC.
Our relationship with Japan is expected to flourish and be that positive force in the region.
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama during a press conference in Tokyo before the start of PALM8.