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JICA President Praises PM For Remarkable Leadership

JICA President Praises PM For Remarkable Leadership
Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) president Shinichi Kitaoka and Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama before the closed door meeting in Iwaki, Japan on May 18, 2018. Photo: DEPTFO
May 20
11:15 2018

Mr Kitaoka told Mr Bainimarama that he was impressed by the increasing visibility of the Pacific on the global stage

The president of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Shinichi Kitaoka has praised Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama for what he says has been “remarkable” leadership shown by the country in the region.

In a bilateral meeting to discuss Japanese-funded projects, Mr Kitaoka told Mr Bainimarama that he was impressed by the increasing visibility of the Pacific on the global stage.

“Your leadership is very remarkable. As I remember when I was ambassador to the UN from 2004 to 2006 the Pacific Islands was relatively quiet- now, not so quiet,” Mr Kitaoka said.

“You are raising your voices, especially after the awareness of global warming and this is very important. We all have a responsibility to maintain a prosperous and dynamic ocean.”

In the meeting, Mr Bainimarama brought up the recent floods that followed bad weather including three cyclones.

He said the floods were having a big impact on tourism, even as the country was trying to expand the industry.

Mr Bainimarama said widening the Nadi River was a priority for the nation.

“Flooding in the Nadi area (is an issue) because our tourism industry is concentrated in Nadi and when it floods the whole town and the industry practically comes to a halt,” Mr Bainimarama said.

“Fiji is known as the hub of the Pacific and we now want to take advantage of that term and fix our airports so that we have many more tourist arrivals.

“We’ve just picked up an additional two planes from Air Berlin which has gone bankrupt. They are still brand new planes and maybe they will be flying to Tokyo.”

Tamavua-i-Wai Bridge

Another issue discussed was the four-lane Tamavua-i-Wai Bridge. JICA is funding two of the lanes while the Government is covering the costs for the remainder.

“For Tamavua River the outline design has been almost finished but we would like to further discuss about how many lanes,” a JICA representative present in the closed-door meeting said.

The representative assured the PM that work on the lanes would start soon and would be seen through.

Mr Kitaoka acknowledged that road was fairly important to Fiji and said JICA recognised its importance.

He also said in Fiji Japan had found a very good partner.

“Last time I visited PNG. This time I will visit your country. I want to see the essence of your success,” Mr Kitaoka told Mr Bainimarama.

Edited by Ranoba Baoa

Feedback: sheldon.chanel@fijisun.com.fj

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