President Mori Speaks at PALM Summit on Japan-Pacific Exchange Plan
Palikir, Pohnpei (FSM Information Services): May 29, 2009 - During the third session of the PALM 5 Summit in Hokkaido, Japan, President Manny Mori was called upon by Japan's Prime Minister, Hon. Taro Aso, to deliver a statement to the leaders on the topic of people-to-people ties in Japan, or the "Kizuna Plan". This plan is a youth exchange plan that Japan is set to put into place that will exchange more than 1,000 people over the next three years between Japan and the Pacific Island Nations. It is a multi-layered exchange with a particular focus on the young generation, including the "Ship for World Youth Program", Overseas students, Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers (JOCV), high school student exchange, and youth and pupils exchange. This is a new exchange scheme that expands the previous one, doubling the number of research students (postgraduate level) from Pacific Islands to Japan and calling on new ports for the "Ship for World Youth Program."
In his remarks, President Mori thanked and commended the Government of Japan for the new "Kizuna Plan" and said that this initiative is a "testament of the sincere desire of (Japan's) government to further promote people-to-people friendship between Japan and the Pacific Island countries." President Mori highlighted the traditional link that the FSM has with Japan, which goes back over a century ago. He told of the "bold pioneering entrepreneurs who sought their destinies in the isles of the South Seas, including our Micronesian island" and that "legacies remain visible today in the form of blood relations, social institutions, and language that is still used today in the FSM.
President Mori further went on to say that "Our people in the Pacific region, including the Federated States of Micronesia, have benefited greatly from the friendship between our governments," and he expressed his sincere appreciation for the cooperation and assistance Japan has given to the FSM in exchange programs such as youth and student exchange, JOCV's, sister-city relationships and the friendship associations in Japan and the Pacific.
Finally, the President assured PM Aso that the FSM government has full support for the "Kizuna Plan" and gave his hope that the plan "is ambitious enough to have far reaching effects in the lives of our peoples, not only by supplementing existing efforts, but also developing into new areas of engagements between the Pacific Islanders and the people of Japan."
The "Kizuna Plan" is part of the 50 billion yen (approximately $500 million dollars) that Japan has earmarked for assistance to the Pacific region over the next 3 years. In addition to the exchange of people-to-people ties, it will also establish a "Visit Pacific Forum", composed of tourism experts from public and private sections, which will aim to discuss ways to attract more Japanese tourists to Pacific Islands.
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