Caption:HE Mr. Isikeli Mataitoga and MP Shinako Tsuchiya.Photo:SUPPLIED.
Fiji’s Ambassador to Japan Isikeli Mataitoga called on the Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the House of Representatives of Japan, the Hon. Shinako TSUCHIYA, at the Member of the House of Representatives Building in Nagata-cho, Tokyo.
This meeting was arranged to follow up on issues raised by the Japanese Member of Parliament during her recent visit to Fiji where she also met with Fiji’s Minister of Foreign Affairs the Hon Ratu Inoke Kubuabola MP.
The Ambassador and MP Tsuchiya spoke of the good relations that both Fiji and Japan have continued and maintained over the years. Ambassador Mataitoga expressed the gratitude of the Fijian Government to the Government of Japan for the assistance rendered to Fiji over the years.
In terms of Fiji’s priority areas in its relations with Japan, Ambassador underlined that trade and market access in Japan is critically important in advancing Fiji’s economic development and growth. He observed that if Japanese SMEs could be assisted to invest in Fiji, particularly in the agricultural and food technology sector. It will ensure that Japanese technologies, know-how and skills will be transferred to Fijian participants.
In the past, Fiji being a middle-level income economy does not qualify for grant aid but receive assistance through regional frameworks. Ambassador Mataitoga and MP Tsuchiya discussed the new ODA Charter just issued by Japan on 5 February 2015 and its guidelines and both expressed the hope that Fiji would be assisted based on its specific needs for development and in the context of its wider role in development of other PICs.
The Ambassador said that since the successful General Election in September 2014, this year will be a busy one for high level political leaders exchange visits. These visits are important in energising and providing a new lease of life in Fiji/Japan bilateral relations which have been in some difficulty since 2007, until 2012 when the current LDP Government came into power. Under the current Government of Prime Minister Abe, Fiji is looking forward to strengthening and diversifying its bilateral areas of engagement with Japan.
Hon Tsuchiya advised Ambassador Mataitoga that following a request from Fiji’s Minister for Foreign Affairs she has had discussion with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Japan, about exchanges visit for parliamentarians. She also conveyed her intention of supporting current efforts to the revival of Japan-Fiji Friendship Parliamentary League (JFFPL).