Government of the Republic of Fiji
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
A Better Fiji through Excellence in Foreign Service
Tokyo, November 27- MORE than 200 people attended a workshop on Pacific regionalism organized by the Fiji Embassy in Japan and funded by the Sasakawa Peace Foundation.
The seminar on "Recent Trends in Pacific Regionalism and the Role of Japan" held in Tokyo has been the largest on Pacific regionalism and the role that Japan played.
Ambassador Mataitoga when opened the seminar said that PICs were seeking new and innovative ways to engage new partners in their sustainable development.
"As they engage in this new process of review, they are asking difficult but often necessary questions about the relevance and effectiveness of existing regional architecture in meeting the development aspirations of the Pacific islands people and communities," he said.
Ambassador Mataitoga said the seminar explored the regional trends and the outlook for the Pacific Island nations along with the role that Japan could play.
Ambassador Mataitoga added that Japan had been and continued to be a close and important partner of Pacific Island Countries in achieving their development goals.
The principal framework in which Japan engages with PIC is through its development assistance program, delivered through the Japan International Cooperation Agency [JICA].
He said that existing regional bodies serving PICs have all in recent times undergone review to determine whether they were still true to their mandate to serve the development aspirations of people of the Pacific Island Countries.
Pacific Islands Development Forum interim Secretary General Feleti Teo and Professor Michael O'Keefe of La Trobe University were the main speakers at the workshop.
The seminar was also attended by the President of Japan Pacific Islands Association Professor Izumi Kobayashi along with Ambassadors from other Pacific Island nations based in Tokyo.
Ambassador Isikeli Mataitoga said since the Pacific island nations face common challenges such as broadly stretched territories, small-sized economies, and limited access to the international market, they were an important supply region for marine life resources, including for countries like Japan, which has a fish-eating food culture.
The seminar also examined recent dynamic evolution of regional cooperation in the Pacific island countries and discussed the outlook and implications of recent development.
The panelists also discussed the role of Japan in the Pacific Island nations and exchanged views on how the Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting (PALM) process should evolve under the new geopolitical situations.
The positive turn out is a reflection of the importance of Pacific regionalism and the role played by Japan poised to the Japanese.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs P. O. Box 2220 Government Buildings Suva, Fiji