Press release 168/2010
(15 April 2010)


Mr. Satoru Satoh, Director-General in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, of Japan
His Excellency Tatsuaki Iwata Ambassador of Japan to the Caribbean Community and other distinguished members of the Japan delegation
His Excellency Edwin Carrington, Secretary-General of the Caribbean Community
Distinguished Members of the CARICOM delegation
Officials of the CARICOM Secretariat
Members of the Media

It is with great pleasure that I welcome the distinguished delegation from Japan and Delegations from the Caribbean Community to the Fourteenth CARICOM-Japan Consultations being held here at the Headquarters of the Caribbean Community Secretariat. Allow me to also convey sincere condolences on the sudden passing of Dr. Nakai who displayed a high degree of professionalism in his work.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, these Consultations signal the continuing forward thrust and momentum of the excellent relations that exist between countries of the Caribbean Community and Japan. CARICOM-Japan relations have advanced significantly since our initial encounter in 1993 and the Community greatly values its relationship with Japan which has consistently shown its commitment to a partnership based on a spirit of collaboration.

Today’s Consultations will play an important role in paving the way and preparing for the convening of the Second CARICOM-Japan Ministerial Meeting to be held in Tokyo in September 2010.

It was at the First CARICOM-Japan Ministerial Meeting that the CARICOM Foreign Ministers along with their Japanese counterpart signed the “New Framework for CARICOM-Japan Cooperation Agreement for the Twenty-First Century” which provided the backdrop for our technical cooperation relations. That Framework set the parameters for building cooperation between CARICOM and Japan in tourism, fisheries, agriculture and a number of other areas, and provided a space and mechanism for dialogue and exchanges on issues of mutual interest.

At the Second CARICOM-Japan Ministerial Meeting our Ministers will have an opportunity to review this Framework the outcome of which we expect will set the tone and the parameters for the relationship during the next few years. We look forward to a fruitful discussion today on the issues of mutual interest to both sides. Among these issues are collaboration on assistance to Haiti, the Global Financial and Economic Crisis, Security, Climate Change and Disaster Management.

Colleagues, you will recall that when CARICOM and Japan met for the Thirteenth Consultations in March last year, it was against a backdrop of a severe global economic and financial crisis which was having adverse effects on several of the Region’s productive sectors. A year later, while the developed countries are now showing signs of being on the road to recovery, our smaller and more vulnerable economies are still suffering from the effects of the crisis.

We continue to make the call for the assistance of our development partners such as Japan in actively supporting the efforts of the CARICOM Region to influence policy making through adequate representation in the traditional international financial institutions and in addressing the fundamental deficiencies in the international financial architecture and in lobbying for urgent and comprehensive reform in a manner that will respond to the realities of the globalized economy and the interests of both developed and developing economies.

We recall also the presentation at the Thirtieth Conference of the Heads of Government in July 2009 by Japan Bank for International Cooperation which outlined Japan’s response to the current global financial crisis and the facilities which could be accessed by CARICOM States either directly or through the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB). The Community looks forward to furthering the discussions with a view to finalizing the modalities for assistance in the short term.

With regard to Climate Change, this is an issue on which we are of one accord in terms of agreeing on its debilitating impact on countries and the significant risks that Climate Change presents to the sustainable development of the Small Island Developing and Low Lying Coastal States of the Caribbean Community.

As articulated in the Liliendaal Declaration, CARICOM continues its call for 1.5 Centigrade to be the limit that global greenhouse gas emissions should be capped at. We continue to call also for the Bali Plan of Action to be the principal road map to guide global negotiations on Climate Change. We look forward to the adoption of a legally binding global agreement on Climate Change at COP 16 in Mexico.

Our discussions today will facilitate a review of our technical cooperation relationship which both sides have sought to carefully nurture and strengthen. The support provided by the Government of Japan to the people and Government of Haiti in the aftermath of the 12 January earthquake and most recently at the International Donors’ Conference for Haiti held at the United Nations Headquarters on 31 March 2010 is proof of Japan’s commitment to the shared values of human security and social development. The Region expresses its deep appreciation for the assistance which Japan has provided to Haiti to date.

I wish to end by welcoming you once again and to express my hope for successful deliberations in these Consultations.

Thank you.


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