Fiji is firmly committed to advancing shared aspirations with Japan for global and regional peace, development, and prosperity. This was expressed by Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama during a bilateral meeting with his Japanese counterpart, Honourable Kishida Fumio, on the margins of the 10th Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) in New York today (2/08/22).

Prime Minister Bainimarama conveyed sincerest condolences on behalf of the Fijian Government and the people of Fiji, on the untimely demise of former Prime Minister of Japan, His Excellency, Mr Shinzo Abe on 8th July 2022. He said there are no words to describe the loss we feel as a family in the wake of this dissolute act, adding that Fiji joins the people of Japan in honouring the life of an esteemed statesman and visionary leader whose dedication to public life spanned political generations.

Discussions at the meeting were also centered on nuclear disarmament.

Prime Minister Bainimarama informed his counterpart that Fiji has taken a proactive step by signing the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in September 2017 and in a further demonstration of our sincere commitment, the Fijian Parliament ratified the Treaty in May 2020.

While delving into our bilateral relations, Prime Minister Bainimarama said that Fiji and Japan’s strong ties had further solidified following the visit by Japan’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Yoshimasa Hayashi to Fiji in May earlier this year.

The Prime Minister commended Japan for its continuous support to Fiji’s national development priorities and partnership, which has extended to important areas including climate change, disaster risk management, and COVID-19 response efforts.

The Head of the Fijian Government also highlighted that Fiji will continue to work closely with Japan and multilateral financial institutions to seek out much-needed access to development finance and concessional funding to stimulate our economic revitalization.

Potential opportunities for increased collaboration in the areas of development and partnerships and the significance of the Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy and Japan’s engagement with the Pacific were also discussed at the meeting.

Prime Minister Bainimarama, at the same time, acknowledged the Japanese Government for its continued commitment to the Japan-Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting (PALM-9) and to enhancing relations with Pacific Island countries through more dialogue, collaboration, and engagement in the Pacific for further development and economic prosperity.

Fiji looks forward to the next PALM meeting to renew and strengthen our partnership. While commenting on the Russia-Ukraine war, Prime Minister Bainimarama said that multilateralism is key and we can only hope that good sense will prevail and that the parties resolve this crisis without any further loss of innocent lives.

At the meeting, Prime Minister Bainimarama also raised serious concerns about the potential discharge of nuclear contaminated water into the Pacific from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear reactor, an important issue that Fiji and the Pacific Islands Forum want addressed accordingly.

In response, Japan’s Prime Minister thanked his Fijian counterpart for the opportunity to meet and discuss opportunities for collaboration in areas of mutual interest.

Japan also shares similar perspectives on eliminating nuclear weapons and the testing and development of new nuclear weapons.

He also assured Fiji and the PIF that consultations will continue with the region’s scientific community on the issue of the potential discharge of nuclear contaminated water into the Pacific.