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CARICOM, Japan strengthen decades-old ties

The long-standing friendship that has existed between the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and Japan was strengthened on Thursday 25 February, with the accreditation of new Ambassador of Japan to CARICOM, His Excellency Mitsuhiko Okada.

Since 1993, relations between CARICOM and Japan have been moving apace. There have been a Summit of Heads of Government, four Ministerial sessions, and 17 consultations held among senior officials.

In accepting the Letters of Credence of the new Japanese envoy to CARICOM, Ambassador Manorma Soeknandan, Deputy Secretary-General of CARICOM, also restated the Community’s profound appreciation to the Government of Japan for contributing to a major symbol of the Region’s integration efforts and progress: the CARICOM Secretariat building. She noted as another tangible testament to Japan’s commitment to CARICOM, the first visit of a Japanese Prime Minister to the Region in 2014 and the new level of political engagement it carried. As an influential voice in the international fora, CARICOM greatly valued its friendship with this pacific island nation, she said.

Japan, in recognising the peculiar vulnerability of Small Island Development States (SIDS) which include CARICOM States, has expressed a willingness to take into consideration issues other than GDP as criteria for determining the provision of official development assistance.

Ambassador Okada pledged to “vigorously build upon the strong foundation and closer ties” which  the two sides have had.

Japan has a very strong history of cooperation and mutual support with the CARICOM Secretariat, and I am firmly committed to fulfilling my important mission and providing all possible means for the development of CARICOM Member States. I look forward to attending my first Japan-CARICOM Consultation Meeting this year and working towards the continued strengthening of ties between Japan and CARICOM Member States,” Mr. Okada said.

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