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Fiji and Japan reaffirms stronger ties, pursue stronger partnership in defence and security
2:08 pm GMT+12, 10/02/2020, Japan

Fiji’s acting permanent secretary for Foreign Affairs and permanent secretary in the Prime Minister’s office, Yogesh Karan met with Norihiro Nakayama, the Japanese Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs.
The meeting took place last week Tuesday 4th February in Tokyo along the margins of the Senior Officials' Meeting of the 9th Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting (SOM9) in Japan.
The meeting featured elaborate discussions on upcoming programmes to expand opportunities for deepened cooperation between Fiji and Japan in social, economic and political areas of development.
PS Karan conveyed Fiji’s sincere appreciation to Japan and its people for their unwavering commitment and support which has enabled Fiji-Japan collaborations to grow from strength to strength.
He said the commemoration of 50 years of Fiji-Japan relations this year is a milestone achievement for the two nations, and that it is a testament of their unprecedented cooperation and great friendship. 
Nakayama commended the Fijian Government’s strong leadership in advancing the universal goals on promoting peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development. He reaffirmed Japan’s commitment to advance Fiji-Japan cooperation through enhanced engagements at upcoming high level meetings which will present unlimited opportunities and platforms to forge stronger ties between the two nations.
He stated that a Japanese delegation is expected to participate at the upcoming Fiji Economic Mission scheduled in Fiji in February 2020 which is an outcome of PALM8.
The relationship between the two nations will be further elevated following high-level meetings and greater levels of engagements between Fiji and Japan in 2020. These include:
* Proposed plans on initiating Fiji and Japan PM Bilateral Summit in Japan;
*Japan-Fiji Parliamentary Friendship League members are expected to visit Fiji to attend the 50th Independence Jubilee Anniversary celebration in recognition of the Fiji-Japan diplomatic relations;
* Provision of potential funding by Japan towards developing volunteer cooperation program and work training programmes; and
*Japan has assured continued support for Fiji, in its preparation to host the 4th PALM Ministerial Interim Meeting in July 2020. It will be significant given that it would be the first time for such an important event, to be hosted outside Japan and in a Pacific island nation.
PS Karan also spoke of the positive outcomes of the meeting he had with  Tomohiro Yamamoto, State Minister of Defense, in particular the possibility of innovative program exchanges in defence and security sectors.
Meanwhile, there is great potential for Fiji and Japan to collaborate in areas of defence and security as emphasised at a recent meeting held between acting Permanent Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Yogesh Karan and the Japanese State Minister of Defence Tomohiro Yamamoto.
The meeting provided an opportunity for Fiji and Japan to map the way forward in expanding the current cooperation that the two nations have in the areas of defence and security.  
PS Karan acknowledged the invitation extended to Fiji’s Minister for Defence and Security to attend the Japan-Pacific Island Countries Defense Ministerial Forum in Tokyo, from 04- 05  April 2020.
He also conveyed Fiji’s appreciation for the support and assistance provided by the Japan Coast Guard to Fiji in the areas of maritime security, as well as cooperation in areas of training and capacity building. The need for continuous capacity building and further development of onshore based surveillance technologies were also discussed.
Fiji’s exemplary leadership and commitment of Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama to call for global action and urgency on climate was also recognised and commended by Japan.
Yamamoto said Japan is committed to providing greater support to Fiji in its priority areas one of which is also the enhancement of defence and security.
Discussions also centered on the Blackrock project in Fiji, which is currently developed with the assistance of the Australian Government.  He stated that the efforts to build this dedicated, unique facility is a step in the right direction by Fiji to build regional and international collaboration in promoting global peace and prosperity through stronger engagements between countries on defence, security and beyond.
Whilst reiterating Japan's Free and Open Indo-Pacific (FOIP) strategy,  Yamamoto stated that Japan looks forward to Fiji’s continued support for its principles.
PS Karan met Tomohiro Yamamoto, along the margins of the Senior Officials' Meeting for the 9th Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting (SOM9) in Tokyo, Japan.


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