Federated States of Micronesia Tourism Promotion Mission
(From left: Mr. Kobayashi, Mr. Komaki, APIC E.D. Mr. Sato, Deputy Chief of Mission Mr. Mori, Mr. Minoda)
APIC is a continuous supporter of the Federated States of Micronesia. Our mission to the region this time was to help develop sustainable industries, and to help solve social problems in the country by creating job opportunities. Another aim was to get suggestions pertaining to future tourism promotion. The first half of the mission was spent in Chuuk, and not only Weno Island, but also Tonowas Island, Jeep Island, and others in the vicinity. During their visit, the group made on-site observations and paid courtesy calls to leaders in the region. At the end of the trip they paid visits to sites in Pohnpei, and were able to visit a key leader of the Federation, while keeping in mind a mid-long-term vision to keep society moving.
On February 10th, the group made an observational visit to the island of Tonowas, the site of former Japan Navy Command Headquarters, and Jeep, which has recently been rising in popularity with tourists. They hope this will be the location of Sophia University’s “Micronesia Exposure Tour” in the future. Mr. Takayuki Suenaga, who has been living in Micronesia and has over 20 years of experience as a tour guide explained the origin of the remains, which was a refresher for the members. They also understood that because of the land, it might be difficult to visit the site during the Exposure Tour.
(Mr. Suenaga giving a tour)
In the evening they attended a gathering with Mr. Kembo Mida, CEO of Chuuk Public Utility Corporation (CPUC) and the younger generation who bear the responsibility of developing Chuuk, the Chuuk Young Leaders. Mr. Minoda gave an introduction about CAS (Cells Alive System) used in processing in the fishing industry、which the guests listened to attentively. The Federated States of Micronesia is abundant in seafood and marine products, but they have not managed to brand and export their products; however, there was talk about how the use of CAS could help solve this problem. There is contemplation of adding the site to the list of visitations during the next Pacific Islands Young Leaders Program.
(Gathering with Chuuk Young Leaders)
On the 11th, the group paid a courtesy call to the Governor of Chuuk State, Mr. Johnson Elimo at the new State Offices. The offices were built with the support of China, and Governor Johnson said the “APIC are the first guests we welcome here to our new offices”. During the following talks, the Governor appraised APIC’s work and welcomed as the state the continued cooperation between the two.
(Paying a courtesy call to Governor Elimo (4th from left))
The group then paid a visit to Mr. Myron Hashiguchi, the Chairman of the Chuuk Visitors Board (CVB), where he commented that “tourism is a big industry for Chuuk, and we want to keep working together with APIC who also understands our land problems from the CVB’s point of view as well”. Lunch was taken with Chuuk State Chamber of Commerce junior members, where they spoke frankly about social challenges in Micronesia.
Afterward, they took a tour of ‘Truk Stop Hotel’ run and owned by Kiki Stinnett and family (Stinnett is a prominent businesswoman in Chuuk State), and then visited Chuuk Women’s Council (CWC). The CWC head office was built on a grant while current APIC Executive Director Mr. Shoji Sato was the then- apanese Ambassador to FSM, and is now the center for women’s and educational activities. It also acts as a place for creating new handicraft works, and is equipped with a simple medical clinic, book room, study room, etc., contributing to the development of Chuuk’s society.
(At Chuuk Women’s Council)
On February 12th, as part of visiting sites for Sophia University’s planned upcoming ‘Micronesia Exposure Tour’, onboard CVB Chairman Hashiguchi’s private boat the ‘Miss Transco’ they toured the Chuuk Lagoon. They reconfirmed the visitation sites for the upcoming college tour and high school tour (a tour designed specifically for high school students is currently in the works), where students can experience abundant nature while taking into consideration the students’ safety.
In the afternoon, the group visited Xavier High School, which APIC has been supporting its exchange students to Sophia University, and aiding in the repairs to the school building. The school was famous for its location far off the beaten path, but with the aid of the state government some places were restored and improved, proving to be an opportunity to see social development in action. Xavier’s Principal, Fr. Baker and his party came to greet the group, and gave a thorough tour of the school’s facilities. The hill on which the school stands is nicknamed ‘Mabuchi Hill’, and is built on the former site of the Japanese naval base built by the Japanese construction company Mabuchi Construction over 70 years ago. For many members of the group for who this was their first visit to the school, the solid condition of the school left a deep impression on them.
On the last evening of their stay in Chuuk, the group was invited to a dinner party on their behalf hosted by Chuuk State Congressman Victor Gouland at the Blue Lagoon Resort. Leaders and important figures in Chuuk were all there to welcome and celebrate the APIC mission group that night, including Governor Elimo. There was a fervent air in the evening that night.
In the morning of the 13th the group said goodbye to Chuuk and continued their journey on to Pohnpei. After arrival, the group paid a courtesy call to then-Japanese Ambassador to the Federated States of Micronesia Ryoichi Horie, and afterward took part in a welcoming dinner hosted at the Ambassador’s official residence. Ambassador Horie gave an introduction to APIC’s activities for the invited guests, and also talked about the joint project between APIC and the Japanese embassy, preserving the Nan Madol ruins. Former Federated States of Micronesia President Mori and other distinguished guests expressed their appreciation for APIC’s activities to APIC Executive Director Shoji Sato.
(Visiting then-Japanese Ambassador to FSM Horie)
Early in the morning of the 14th the group had breakfast with the Secretary of the Department of Resources and Development, Mr. Marion Henry, and afterward paid a courtesy call to then-President Peter Christian in the country’s capital, Palikir. The group paid another courtesy call to the Vice-Governor of Pohnpei State at the State Offices, explaining APIC’s daily activities and goals. President Christian showed a keen interest in APIC’s involvement in creating a visitor’s center to promote the Nan Madol Ruins, and the Nan Madol English-language guidebook; he expressed hope that the guidebook will be translated into the local Pohnpei language as well.
(Courtesy call to then-FSM President Christian)
In the afternoon, the party visited the Nan Madol ruins, receiving a briefing from the local director Mr. Fujita, explaining about the condition of the ruins and challenges it faces. On the way back they visited Kepirohi Waterfall, and a visit to the statue of Henry Nanpei, who contributed significantly to the social development of the Kitti region. Concerning Kepirohi Waterfall, as part of Pohnpei State’s efforts, a footpath and lookout point are in the works, giving hope for development with the neighboring Nan Madol ruins.
(Nan Madol Ruins)
(Bronze statue of Henry Nanpei)
College of Micronesia-FSM (COM-FSM) President Joseph Daisy hosted a dinner reception for the APIC party at the Mangrove Bay Hotel, with former FSM President Mori, Mr. and Mrs. Kasio Mida, Kasio being the former Chief-of-Staff to the President. APIC Executive Director Shoji Sato’s former acquaintance then-Senator David Panuelo (currently President of FSM) happened to be at the reception, and although it was only for a brief moment, the two exchanged current happenings and information.
(With President Daisy (left))
The 15th was spent visiting Ant Island Atoll off of Pohnpei’s main island. In the evening they were welcomed into the home of the former Chief-of-Staff to the President, Mr. and Mrs. Mida’s home for a dinner party. It was a chance to experience and feel Pohnpei’s nature and the people’s warmth.
Early in the morning on the last day of the party’s visit to Micronesia, they took breakfast and exchanged opinions with Mr. Mida and other members of the FSM-Japan Friendship Society, resulting in continued support and talking together about the future direction of the alliance.
The trip to Micronesia with the purpose of visiting sites for future programs was spent observing important places and people. It provided experiences and important meetings with a wide range of people to aid in the continuation of review of the direction of cooperation between Micronesia and APIC.
APIC will continue to support the Federated States of Micronesia as its main aid nation. We asked for your continued support in our endeavors.
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