Leaders and support staff sit down for PALM 6 in Okinawa
May 26, 2012 Okinawa, Japan—Despite Japan's ongoing recovery efforts in the aftermath of the great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami, Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda today pledged $500 million US dollars in assistance over the next three years to Pacific Island Forum member countries (FICs). He made the commitment as part of the "Okinawa 'Kizuna' Declaration," at the sixth PALM (Pacific Island Leaders Meeting) held on May 25 and 26 at the Busena Terrace resort in Nago, Okinawa. Prime Minister Noda said that Japan fulfilled the promise it made during PALM5 by providing $493 million US dollars to FICs over the last three years. That aid was used to fund measures across the Pacific region to address environmental issues and climate change; to overcome vulnerabilities and to promote human security in FICs; and to enhance people-to-people exchanges.
"We are Islanders..."
PALM 6 was held under the over-arching banner theme of "We are Islanders – For Growing 'Kizuna' in the Pacific." "Kizuna" is a Japanese word essentially describing the strong ties that bind close friends to each other. The declaration "reaffirmed that Japan, the host country of the PALM, is an equal and important partner sharing the Pacific Ocean." Leaders discussed ways to enhance cooperation with particular focus on the following five areas: 1) response to natural disasters; 2) environment and climate change; 3) sustainable development and human security; 4) people-to-people exchanges; and 5) maritime issues. Japan has had a long engagement with FICs and has held multilateral meetings with FICs since 1997 with a PALMs held once every three years. PALM 6 included leaders and representatives of Japan, Pacific Island Forum (PIF) members including, Australia, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Nauru, New Zealand, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Republic of the Marshal Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu. For PALM 6 leaders appointed Cook Islands Prime Minister Henry Puna as the co-chair. Prime Minister Puna is also the next chair of the Pacific Island Forum which will be held in Rarotonga, Cook Islands.
Fiji was absent from PALM 6. A high level spokesperson from the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that Japan is still committed to a dialogue with Fiji to help establish democracy in Fiji but after long consideration decided that it was "not yet time" to invite the leader of Fiji to PALM. He said that Japan extended an invitation for Fiji's Minister of Foreign Affairs to attend the meeting but that Commodore Bainarama rejected the invitation saying that PALM 6 is a meeting of leaders and not one of ministers.
President Mori and First Lady, Emma Mori say farewell to
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