FIJI NEWS

Japan happy with elections preparation

By ROSI DOVIVERATA Japan is supportive of Fiji’s progress towards democracy and it appreciates the steady preparations for the general elections, says the outgoing Japanese Ambassador Eiichi Oshima. Mr Oshima
24 Feb 2014 10:46

By ROSI DOVI

Outgoing Japanese Ambassador to Fiji Eiichi Oshima.

VERATA

Japan is supportive of Fiji’s progress towards democracy and it appreciates the steady preparations for the general elections, says the outgoing Japanese Ambassador Eiichi Oshima.
Mr Oshima said: “It is important for the people and the Government of Fiji to ensure the implementation of free and fair elections and the need for the results of the election to be widely accepted domestically as well as internationally.”
Here’s the rest of his response to questions sent to him regarding his reflections on relations between Fiji and Japan.

Fiji SUN: What is your fondest memory of Fiji?
Mr Oshima: As you know I arrived in Fiji amid difficulties of our relations between Japan and Fiji, I was really impressed with the warmth of Fijian people including government officials.
I visited local communities, and again I felt the warmth, natural friendliness of Fijians combined with the magnificent and pristine nature of Fiji. I am so impressed that I intend to return with my wife, as tourists, sometime in the future.
By the way attached is a photo of Saturn I took from my residence. Stargazing is my hobby. Suva is not an ideal place for stargazing though.

Fiji SUN: Having lived here over the past two years, how do you see Fiji’s progress towards the general elections?
Mr Oshima: Major point of my hope is “Fiji will build a truly democratic nation where human rights are guaranteed and achieves national unity by removing all forms of discrimination as well as establishes a transparent and accountable political system.”

Fiji SUN: Some overseas missions have offered to help Fiji towards this progress to elections.
Is Japan willing to pitch in and help? If so, in what way?
Mr Oshima: Japan is ever supportive of Fiji’s progress towards democracy. In this context, Japan appreciates Fiji’s steady preparations for the general elections to date.
It is important for the people and the Government of Fiji to ensure the implementation of free and fair elections and the need for the results of the elections to be widely accepted domestically as well as internationally.
In order to have such elections, the Government of Japan is eager for providing necessary assistance. In this regard, we have come to recognise that voter education is one of the most important areas which needs assistance that is necessary for an informed, inclusive and meaningful participation by citizens in the general elections.
In this relation, the Government of Japan is now working on the creation, publication and distribution of Election Manuals and Leaflets in collaboration with Fiji National University.
Since this is the first time for voters and candidates to engage in general elections featuring a multi-member open list system of proportional representation in a single national constituency, we hope that FNU-Japan manuals and leaflets can provide sufficient information on the elections to all stakeholders.
Japan is also willing to provide other assistance for the elections. In this regard we are waiting for the Elections Commission and the Elections Office to operate fully so that we can consult with them on our further assistance.
Japan also remains committed to engage cooperation with Fiji post general elections, in the new momentum that a newly established democracy generates.

Fiji SUN: Will you be returning to Tokyo or take up a posting overseas?
Mr Oshima: Yes, after completing my term here in Fiji, I will be returning to Japan and most probably, I will be retiring from Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and perhaps help younger generations.
However, if I ever get an opportunity to contribute towards the betterment of Japan-Fiji relations, I will most certainly oblige.


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