Japan Foreign Minister visits USP, launches JENESYS 2019
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Honourable Taro Kono, Japan’s Minister for Foreign Affairs addressing students and staff at USP.
Honourable Taro Kono, Japan’s Minister for Foreign Affairs addressed students and staff of The University of the South Pacific’s (USP) Laucala Campus on 5 August 2019.
In welcoming the Hon Minister, Professor Pal Ahluwalia, USP Vice-Chancellor & President said it was indeed humbling to host him, given that the University shares a longstanding relationship with Japan.
“Japan ranks amongst the top four development partners of the University and I am delighted to mention that the state of the art facility that we are seated in now along with the Japan-Pacific ICT Centre, which is connected to this building, is a generous contribution of the Government of Japan through the Government of Fiji,” he said.
He stated the Government of Japan, through its Embassy and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), is working in close collaboration with the University in changing lives of the Pacific people for the better.
USP he noted, has received technical assistance from Japan in areas such as ICT, marine science, agriculture and fisheries through the technical cooperation programmes, Infrastructure programmes, the Government of Japan’s scholarship programmes, and the Pacific Leads programme.
Some of the specific Japanese-supported joint efforts with the University include the recent collaboration between USP, JICA, Ministry of Infrastructure, Transport, Disaster Management and Meteorological Services (MITDMMS) and the Water Authority of Fiji (WAF) in the installation and operation of an Ecological Purification System (EPS) at the Laucala Campus and the USP Net Satellite Project, the back-bone of the University business system that enables communication across the regional campuses, among other things.
In his keynote, Hon Kono spoke on the topic Three Pillars for a Better and Active, Full of Opportunities and Innovative Future, for Us the People of the Pacific.
In doing so, Hon Kono looked back at the history and development of the relationship between the Pacific Island countries and Japan.
Hon Kono touched on the initiation and evolution of the Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting (PALM) process since 1997 - a series of summit-level meetings held once every three years between the leaders of Pacific Island countries and Japan; programmes run by JICA; Education assistance to the region including USP; People-to-people programmes like the Japan-East Asia Network of Exchange for Students and Youths (JENESYS); and addressing challenges such as climate change and maritime issues.
Part of the audience that attended the JENESYS 2019 launch at USP’s Laucala Campus.
Hon Kono also shared Japan’s renewed determination and commitment to the Pacific Island region, and Japan’s hope to work together with the Pacific to promote good relations and collaborate in building a better future for the entire Indo-Pacific region.
“It has become increasingly clear in recent years that the Pacific Island region plays a key role in the pursuit of a free and open Indo-Pacific vision. Japan is determined to play our part in ensuring that this region remains free and open,” he stated.
He added that, “building on the past 32 years of cooperation and our historical ties that go back over 100 years, I would like to call on all friends of the Pacific Island region to work together for a better future - a future that is Active, Opportunity-filled, and Innovative”.
Hon Kono reaffirmed that the Government of Japan has decided to increase commitment for the Pacific Island region.
“Cooperating closely with other partners, such as the United States, Australia, and New Zealand, Japan will extend further cooperation to Pacific Island countries in the field of maritime issues, connectivity, and climate change/disaster management,” he mentioned.
He stated that more specifically, Japan will promote stability and safety; support resilient and sustainable development; and increase active people-to-people exchanges.
“Japan will help to ensure stability and safety in the region. Japan will provide capacity-building for maritime law enforcement for government officials from Pacific Island nations,” he added
Hon Kono also launched the 2019 Japan-East Asia Network of Exchange for Students and Youths (JENESYS) project, an initiative in partnership with the Government of Japan where University students from 14 Pacific Island Countries (PICs) including Australia and New Zealand are provided fully funded Nine Day study tours to Japan.
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