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Pacific Islands Young Leadership Program

Pacific Islands Young Leadership Program
(The fourth from the left: APIC Executive Director Mr. Sato / the second from the right: the agent of PIC Director Mr. Kurosaki / Pacific Islands young leaders)

The Association for Promotion of International Cooperation (APIC) implemented an invitation program called “Pacific Islands Young Leadership Program” which took place from 21 to 28 February 2016, under which two young leaders were invited each from the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands and Republic of Palau, respectively. During their one-week stay, they had a chance to see the latest innovations with their own eyes in Japan, and to reconfirm the importance of promoting good relationships and collaborating with Japan. After spending three days in Tokyo, they went up north to the areas where the Fukushima disaster took place and observed the current situation. This article is about how the leaders spent their three days in Tokyo.


 The group participated in the Pacific Islands Young Leadership Program met with notable political figures in Japan on 22 and 23 and discussed on current Japanese politics, foreign relations, and the importance of maintaining strong relationships between their respective countries and Japan. Politicians they met were Mr. Takeo Akiba, Director-General of the Foreign Policy Bureau, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Masakazu Hamachi, Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Tadamori Ooshima, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. Keiji Furuya, a member of the House of Representatives, Mr. Nobuteru Ishihara, Minister for Economic Revitalization, Total Reform of Social Security and Tax, and Economic and Fiscal Policy, and Mr. Minoru Kiuchi, a member of the House of Representatives. This was an excellent opportunity for these young leaders to discuss political issues, which we hope will comprise an international relationship based upon peace and friendship between the countries.


(Meeting with Japan and Pacific Islands Parliamentary Group. APIC President Mr. Sato on the bottom right)
On 22 February, when they visited the Pacific Islands Center, which is a place where they transmit information of the Pacific Islands, the young leaders asked questions aggressively about how their cultures are introduced in Japan. Having a meal at the Tanita Shokudo and visiting Tsukiji market in the early morning was a good opportunity for them to come in touch with Japanese eating habits and the actual conditions of lively fishing industries.

During the whole program, the leaders visited agencies such as Sophia University (for a briefing from Prof. John Joseph Puthenkalam, Dean of Sophia University Graduate School of Global Environmental Studies), Toshiba Corporation Fuchu Complex (for a visit to the Hydrogen Energy R&D Center), Bio Energy Corporation (for introducing a technology that turns trash into energy), Japan Meteorological Agency (to see the scene of forecasting tsunami, earthquakes, volcanoes, and weathers), Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) (for a briefing about JICA’s effort in the field of environmental management and energy in Pacific regions). They saw Japan’s latest innovations in each field and learned many things that would be useful in their own countries. In particular, it seemed to be very meaningful to know Japan’s efforts against energy issues, since Pacific Island countries, which rely on imported energy resources, have the same problems.


(Visit to the Japan Meteorological Agency)

During their three days in Tokyo, these young leaders were active and engaged in their surroundings, and always had questions to ask. Their interest in maintaining and supporting a solid relationship with Japan was quite visible; participants also held many conversations among themselves, which is the basis to building stronger ties among the Pacific Island Nations. In conclusion, the opportunity provided to the Pacific Islands Young Leadership Program is unequivocal in helping to take ties between the Pacific Islands of Micronesia, Palau, and the Marshall Islands to the next step in international relations.
(Written by Saki Watanabe, intern)

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