Ja­pan, a pos­i­tive force in the Pa­cific re­gion

Fiji Sun - - Comment - ROSI DOVIVERATA Feed­back: rosi.doviverata@fi­jisun.com.fj

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.

Photo: DEPTFO News

Prime Min­is­ter Voreqe Bain­i­marama dur­ing a press con­fer­ence in Tokyo be­fore the start of PALM8.

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