Government of the Federated States of Micronesia

FSM Government Officials and Officials of the Government of Japan Sign Exchange of Notes

PALIKIR, Pohnpei (FSM Information Service): February 13, 1997 - The Secretary of the FSM Department of External Affairs Asterio Takesy and Charge d'Affaires ad interim of the Embassy of Japan, Kiyoshi Nishikawa, signed an Exchange of Notes on behalf of their governments in a ceremony held in the Federated States of Micronesia at the Department of External Affairs Wednesday morning, February 12, 1997, for the project constructing an inter-island vessel for the FSM Government.

For the implementation of the project, the Government of Japan will extend to the Government of the Federated States of Micronesia a grant aid up to 1,258,000,000, said Nishikawa in remarks delivered during the ceremony.

This project is to provide the FSM with a new landing craft type vessel to replace the existing vessel Caroline Islands and to improve sea transportation capability of the FSM, transporting large cargoes, food and medicine, necessary supplies for subsistence of small-scale fishing operations such as fuel oils, fishing gear and materials, and to transport local products from the rural villages to markets in the FSM.

"I believe that an increase of the vessel's operation," Nishikawa stated, "will contribute to the activation of social and economic activities in the rural villages and to improving the standard of living of the village people in the outer islands of the FSM."

Nishikawa concluded hoping the project will lead to further promotion of mutual understanding and friendly relationships between Japan and the Federated States of Micronesia.

Secretary Takesy welcomed and greeted Mr. Nishikawa and his party to the ceremony saying he has both official and personal interest in the FSM-Japan relations and "...this happy occasion, and we should have more and more of this kind of occasion."

Takesy stated that the inter-island vessel project is an "important and historic occasion in the history of economic cooperation between Japan and the FSM as this is the first major grant aid project to be implemented [received] by the national government."

"Today's festive occasion," Takesy stated, "is a living testimony to the current state of our governmental relations that is strong, amicable and friendly, and deeply rooted in our traditional links. Our relations today have not only reached a new heights but have also grown and become more sophisticated and intrinsically complicated. It is therefore incumbent upon our two governments to work together and cooperate even more closely in this day and age of dynamic global change."

Takesy declared, "I, for one, strongly believe in the traditional links of our relations which transcends and goes beyond the usual government-to-government relations between two sovereign nations. As we now approach the dawn of a new millennium, I would like to believe that we do not only need each other, but we belong to one another. Our interaction will take on new proportions and new thoughts for our mutual benefits."

Takesy told Nishikawa to convey to his government FSM's sincere gratitude and appreciation for the generous support and assistance that the government of Japan continued to extend to FSM's government. Japanese generous assistance - be it in the provision of fishing boats, road equipment, or dock and port expansion - are indeed very much appreciated by the government and the people of the FSM. They are not only making significant contributions to the FSM's nation-building effort, but strengthening the friendship that the peoples of the two countries have come to enjoy. 'They are improving our everyday lives for which we are truly grateful."

Takesy concluded, "as we have made mention during the consultative group meeting and the first roundtable talks, my government has made some modest progress in our efforts for economic development. But much more remains to be done, and we will continue to look to Japan for support and assistance, namely in areas of transport infrastructure, marine resources, tourism, agriculture, private sector development, and human resources development, just to name a few."

Takesy said the project for the inter-islands vessels for fishing villages is timely and could not have come at a more opportune time. Since a reliable transport system is an indispensable part of any economic development effort, there is no doubt that the lives of the 40 percent of the nation's population living on the outer islands will be improved as more frequent trips are made, transporting much needed supplies, goods, heavy equipment and services to the people. "It is our hope that this project will not only facilitate the growth of fishing activities and commerce among the islands, but will usher in also a new innovative thinking and fresh ideas to better our own lives. This is congruent to the self-help philosophy of the Japanese ODA, an approach that we also subscribe," he added.

"I will be remiss to conclude without acknowledging the professionalism and caliber of the departments and offices for with their technical expertise and know-how, we would not have come to this happy and satisfactory juncture. I would like to thank the JICA technical experts, and the Department of Transportation and Communications, and the Department of Resources and Development for their hard work and diligence in putting together the specifications and details of the project," Secretary Takesy concluded.

The ceremony was also attended by the Secretary of the Department of Transportation and Communication, Lukner Weilbacher; Secretary of the Department of Resources and Development, Sebastian Anefal; members of their respective staffs; and the Executive Director of the Micronesian Maritime Authority, Bernard Thoulog.

On the Japanese side, besides Nishikawa were Japanese Embassy's First Secretary, Susumu Nakagawa; Japan Overseas Volunteers Association (JOVC) Coordinator Makiko Goto, JOVC Senior Coordinator; Hiroaki Nagasawa, President of the Pohnpei-Japan Community Club in Pohnpei; General Manager of FSM Telecommunications Corporation, Takuro Akinaga; and the advisor to the Pohnpei-Japan Community Club, Norio Nakamatsu.

For further information on this release, please contact:

FSM Office of the President
Public Information: Press, Radio, Video
P.O Box 34
Palikir Station, Pohnpei, FM 96941
Tel.: (691) 320-2548/2092
Fax.: (691) 320-4356