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EDITORIAL: Japan Recognises The Real Pacific Wway, Leadership

Foreign Affairs Minister Ratu Inoke Kubuabola rightfully pointed out in Parliament yesterday that Fiji was considered the pre-eminent leader in the Pacific Islands. Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama took this mantle
21 May 2015 10:02
EDITORIAL: Japan Recognises The Real Pacific Wway, Leadership
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (right), with his Fijian counterpart Voreqe Bainimarama in Tokyo on Tuesday.

Foreign Affairs Minister Ratu Inoke Kubuabola rightfully pointed out in Parliament yesterday that Fiji was considered the pre-eminent leader in the Pacific Islands.

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama took this mantle of leadership to the 7th Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting (PALM 7) in Japan.

In fact, it’s quite telling that Japan has reversed its position on Fiji after it earlier refused to invite PM Bainimarama.

Three years ago it declined to invite Fiji to PALM 6 because of what it deemed to be the ‘insufficient pace of reform toward democratisation.’ This was just a smoke screen for Australian interference.

Fiji now has a democratically elected Government. The 2014 General Elections were deemed to be ‘free and fair’ by the Multi-national Observer Group (MOG).

Despite the Opposition’s protestations in Parliament on Fiji’s growing role as the hub of the Pacific, Japan has quickly learned that cutting ties with Fiji is not an option.

Why would it want to marginalise a nation that punches above its weight at international level? We’ve said it before, that Fiji since 2006 has carved out its own niche at international forums like the United Nations (UN).  For example in 2013, Fiji took chairmanship of G77 Plus China, the largest intergovernmental coalition within the United Nations. According to Ratu Inoke, this was a resounding vote of confidence in the Voreqe Bainimarama led Government.

In Tokyo, this week, PM Bainimarama has reiterated our Government’s commitment to strengthening bilateral ties between our two countries. He took a swipe at ‘third parties’ for giving wrong advice to the Japanese Government about its Fijian counterparts.

Fiji and Japan have a lot of areas of mutual interest. Obviously, the behemoth, that is the Japanese economy has a lot of benefits to its much smaller and less sophisticated Fijian economy. PM Bainimarama is aware of this and has been focused on negotiating opportunities that can stimulate trade between the two countries.

This comes with the backdrop of improved economic growth of four per cent or more in the Fijian economy.

This has resulted in high levels of both foreign and local investment, as well as expanded re-engagement by and with our development partners and major financial institutions such as the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank.

By inviting Fiji again to the PALM meeting, Japan recognises and affirms the new Pacific order, no longer under the patronizing influence of Australia and New Zealand. This is the way forward.  The real Pacific Way, forward.

Feedback:  rosi.doviverata@fijisun.com.fj

 

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