President Mori and Delegation Attend the "Pacific Islands Exhibition 2009" and "Viva! Pacific Islanders" Opening Ceremony in Tokyo
Palikir, Pohnpei (FSM Information Services): May 25, 2009 - On Thursday, May 21, the "Pacific Islands Exhibition 2009" and "Viva! Pacific Islanders" Opening Ceremony took place in Tokyo at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO). President Mori and the First Lady attended this event, along with the Heads of Delegations from the other Pacific Island Forum Nations. The event was hosted by JETRO and opening addresses were given by Mr. Yasuo Hayashi, the Chairman and CEO of JETRO and Mr. Tuiloma Neroni Slade, the Secretary General of the Pacific Island Forum Secretariat.
Mr. Hayashi stated that this was an official event of the PALM 5 Summit meeting and that the Pacific Island nations are important partners for Japan. He said they share common challenges as island nations in the environment and security. He noted that part of the PALM 5 Summit focuses on trade and investment and clarified that this event will highlight how buyers in Japan are exposed to products from venders in the Pacific Island nations.
In Mr. Slade's address, he noted that this is the 4th Trade Exhibit in Japan for Pacific Island nations. He stated that economic growth must be drivers for development of the region and that we must capitalize on emerging opportunities, like the opening of markets for trade and services with Japan. He also stated that the Pacific Plan focuses on these opportunities, especially the export items such as noni juice, timber, fresh tuna, coffee, vanilla, black pearls and fresh beef and salt from Pacific Islands to Japan. He quoted the statistic that trade from Forum Island countries to Japan has doubled over the past 10 years and it now exceeds $100 million US. However, Pacific Island nations continue to lack a range of exportable products and lack a large enough supply of products and a general understanding of the Japanese market to take full advantage of this trade opportunity. Key factors that need be addressed are the quality of service and products, and meeting the terms of the Japanese markets.
Prior to this meeting, the Pacific Island leaders were witness to the opening of the new Pacific Island Center (PIC), which is dedicated to help address these issues. This center is located in Meiji University.
Other speakers who gave congratulatory addresses were Hon. Toke Tufukia Talagi, Chair of the Pacific Island Forum, H.E. Mr. Yoshiro Mori, former Prime Minister of Japan, H.E. Mr. Nobuhide Minorikawa, Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, and H.E. Mr. Yoshifumi Matsumura, Parliamentary Secretary for Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan.
After the opening ceremony, President Mori and the First Lady toured the exhibition site in the JETRO Exhibition Hall where displays from Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia were on display. Every country had a section to display locally produced items available for export to Japan. In the FSM display, there were bags of Pohnpei black pepper, FSM commemorative stamps, Lelu water from Kosrae, taro powder, handicrafts from the islands and coconut products from CDA.
As part of the Exhibition, Mr. Edgar Santos from the Pohnpei State Visitors Bureau gave live performances on stage singing Pohnpeian songs using his handcrafted ukulele. Recordings of some of his performance and pictures from the President's trip to Japan at these various events can be viewed on the FSM Embassy of Japan's blog site at http://fsmemb.or.jp. The exhibition continues from May 21st through the 26th.
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