Japan to strengthen cooperation with CARICOM

Japan to strengthen cooperation with CARICOM

(CARICOM )  As the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and Japan look forward to the celebration of the Twentieth Anniversary of cooperation in 2014, Japan has signalled its intent to deepen cooperation relations with the Region even further.

This indication came from Ambassador Akira Yamada, Director-General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan at the opening of the Sixteenth CARICOM-Japan Consultation, Tuesday at the Georgetown, Guyana Headquarters of the CARICOM Secretariat.

Ambassador Yamada, who Co-chaired of the Meeting along with Sir Edwin Carrington, Ambassador of Trinidad and Tobago to CARICOM, noted that CARICOM-Japan cooperation has accelerated recently with Japan paying increased attention to its development agenda.

He said Japan’s increased interest had been manifested in its participation in the ministerial meetings of the Council for Foreign and Community Relations and the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), in May, last, and further deepened through a visit to Japan in December 2012, by President of Haiti, His Excellency Michel Martelly.

Those engagements, Ambassador Yamada said, were testament of an acknowledgment by Japan of the importance of the Caribbean Community in the global community.

Sir Edwin in his remarks underscored the value of the long-standing friendship Japan and CARICOM had forged since 1993.

Noting that the fruit of the friendship had been evident in a number of cooperation initiatives and technical projects in a wide range of areas that have redounded to the benefit of the Governments and Peoples of the CARICOM and Japan, he said that Tuesday’s Consultation presented an opportunity not only to reaffirm the Community’s high regard of its relations with Japan, but also to explore avenues in which cooperation can be enhanced.

In this regard he stated that the future of CARICOM-Japan relations must take account of the current situation within the Community and the thrust of CARICOM Heads of Government to pursue a development path that engendered inclusiveness of all stakeholders, which would lift knowledge base, innovation capability, and the entrepreneurial capacity of CARICOM nationals.

“The Community is now to focus on developing the modalities for a framework to generate sustainable economic growth and development in the CARICOM Region.  In this regard we look forward to collaborating with our development partners in the international Community, such as Japan,” Sir Edwin said.

Against the backdrop of the devastating effects on Japan posed by the global financial and economic crisis, and the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, Sir Edwin said that the Community was heartened by the commitment of the Japanese Government to “drastically increase assistance” to the Region.

Given the new impetus to the CARICOM-Japan partnership bolstered by a “A New Framework for Japan-CARICOM Cooperation for the Twenty-First Century” in 2010, Sir Edwin said that the Community was looking forward to advancing discussions to help promote and increase mutual awareness through people to people exchanges and activities commemorative in their nature in diverse fields such as Culture, Trade, and Tourism.

The 20-year friendship between CARICOM and Japan has been marked by technical cooperation in the areas of disaster risk reduction, education and capacity development, health and medical care, improvement of key industries such as tourism, fisheries and agriculture, promotion of trade and investment, and Information and Communication Technology; and the environment and climate change. Those areas of cooperation have been benefiting the Region through the mechanism of CARICOM-Japan Friendship and Cooperation Fund (JCFCF) and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

CARICOM and Japan consultations are convened at the level of senior officials to give direction to further political and economic relations, to review the progress of technical cooperation activities and to resolve impediments to the implementation of such activities. A significant part of Tuesday’s Consultation included a discussion on initiatives to celebrate Japan-CARICOM Friendship Year 2014.

The Community boasted wide representation at the meeting which included The Bahamas, Belize, Dominica, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) and the CARICOM Development Fund (CDF).

You must be logged in to post a comment Login