Fiji and Japan will continue to pursue stronger collaborations in mutual areas of infrastructure development, disaster risk management, climate change, health, education, defence and security. This message was articulated at today’s farewell courtesy call received by the Honourable Prime Minister, Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama from the outgoing Ambassador of Japan to the Republic of Fiji, His Excellency Mr. Masahiro Omura.
PM Bainimarama conveyed the Fijian Government’s appreciation to Ambassador Omura for his leadership and commitment to Fiji, which is reflected in the remarkable achievements accomplished whilst taking Fiji and Japan cooperation to new heights.
In commending Japan’s unprecedented support to Fiji and the region, PM Bainimarama thanked the Government of Japan for its collaboration towards advancing common sustainable development goals, improving livelihoods and rebuilding back better.
The Head of the Fijian Government said that 50 years of Fiji and Japan’s diplomatic relations is testament of strong bonds of friendship and mutual respect for each other’s sovereignty, mutual understanding and cooperation.
PM Bainimarama acknowledged Japan’s timely assistance towards Fiji’s recovery and rebuilding work through the “Adopt A School Programme” and rehabilitation efforts following the aftermath of TC Winston and recently TC Harold.
In reaffirming Fiji’s support to global solidarity, PM Bainimarama said that Fiji looks forward to its participation in next year’s Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting; PALM 9 in Japan to further enhance the bilateral engagements with the view that the PALM platform is a demonstration of Japan’s strong partnership in the Pacific.
PM Bainimarama extended the Fijian Government’s and the people of Fiji’s best wishes to Ambassador Omura for his future endeavors.
In response, Ambassador Omura said he is honored to contribute to robust and friendly relationship between Fiji and Japan.
“I would like to convey my heartfelt gratitude to the Honourable Prime Minister Rear Admiral (Retired) Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama, The Government and people of Fiji for the friendship, warm hospitality and partnership accorded to me and the people of Japan, during my term here.
“Congratulations again for the 50th Independence Anniversary of the Republic of Fiji. In this same year, we are also celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Japan and Fiji. It gives me great joy to see that the social, economic and political collaboration has strengthened between our countries.
“For instance, the 2nd Japan-Fiji Trade and Investment Seminar was held in Suva in February 2020, with Japan’s Parliamentary Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Norihiro Nakayama in attendance.
“The resumption of the direct flight between Japan and Fiji in 2018 increased the number of Japanese visitors twofold as well as promoted a notable increase in the volume of trade. I am confident that the social, economic, and political exchanges will grow even more after the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The two nation’s cooperation is built upon the strong foundation of the 50 year Japan-Fiji friendship. As the Hon. PM Bainimarama and I celebrated the countdown “1 Year to GO! Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics in 2021” – sports and rugby are other key areas of our close relationship. Many Fijian athletes play professional rugby in Japanese National and club level teams and a diverse range of people-to-people exchange is conducted through the towns of Oita, Akita, Saga and so on. I am confident that more collaborations will follow among us,” Ambassador Omura said.
Japan has formalised funding assistance worth FJD 100 million as Stand-by Loan for Disaster Recovery and Rehabilitation in 2019.
Japan has also implemented a total of 387 Grassroots projects worth USD 27.0 million since 1990, including rehabilitations of schools damaged by TC Winston and Harold. In light of COVID-19, Japan has been keen to support the Health Ministry with the provision of FJD10 million for procurement of health equipment and additional support was provided to multilateral agencies such UNICEF, IFRC and UNDP.
In response to the economic downturn due to COVID-19, Japan is considering a concessional loan to help Fiji strengthen its resilience against the global pandemic.
The signing of the detail design works for the Tamavua-i-wai Bridge will pave the way for the construction of a new two lane bridge, parallel to existing bridge to support Fiji Road Authority’s long term goal of a four lane road between the Suva-Lami corridor.