PORT OF SPAIN — On July 28, 2014, in the city of Port of Spain of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, the first Japan CARICOM Summit was held with the participation of the Prime Minister of Japan, H.E. Mr. Shinzo Abe, and the Leaders of the CARICOM Member States. Here’s his full address to the Summit, outlining where CARICOM fits in Tokyo’s foreign policy.
The Member States of CARICOM uphold fundamental values such as freedom, respect for basic human rights, peace and democracy and have been making a great contribution to enhance the interests of the international community.
Japan will contribute even more proactively to peace, stability and prosperity of the region and the world from the policy of “Proactive Contributor to Peace” based on the principle of international cooperation. Japan and CARICOM countries are maritime island nations which, surrounded by the ocean, enjoying its blessings, and regarding the safety of the ocean as the safety of its own, place importance on the maritime order based on the rule of law. Furthermore, Japan and CARICOM countries are global partners that share common interests, face common challenges and uphold common basic values.
CARICOM Member States have long called for the need of assistance that takes into account the vulnerabilities particular to small island states. Japan, as a country that itself includes small islands, has provided assistance to overcome these vulnerabilities. Prime Minister Abe, stressing Japan’s solidarity with the CARICOM Member States, announced Japan’s policy towards CARICOM, consisting of the following three pillars:
- Cooperation towards sustainable development including overcoming vulnerabilities particular to small island states;
- Deepening and expanding bonds founded on exchanges and friendship;
- Cooperation in addressing challenges of the international community.
First Pillar: Cooperation towards sustainable development including overcoming vulnerabilities particular to small island states
Japan will actively engage in international discussions concerning vulnerabilities particular to small island states, including those at the International Conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and at the UN Climate Summit along with CARICOM Member States and other small island states.
Japan has extended cooperation towards overcoming vulnerabilities particular to CARICOM Member States utilizing Japanese technologies and expertise nurtured through its similar experience, in the fields of disaster risk reduction, counter measure against environment, climate change, energy, waste management and fisheries amongst others. The total amount of our grant aid to CARICOM Member States, not including Haiti, for this fiscal year is expected to increase six-fold compared to the annual levels of the past three years. With regards to Haiti, we are carrying out assistance towards post-earthquake reconstruction and stabilization. We will continue to enhance our assistance to these states.
Considering the “vulnerabilities particular to small island states” of CARICOM Member States, Japan recognizes the importance of assisting them from perspectives other than those based on per-capita income. For future cooperation, we will first conduct field surveys: possible areas of assistance, for example, include disaster risk reduction and environment, with concrete arrangements of cooperation to be considered based on the survey results.
Second Pillar: Deepening and expanding fraternal bonds of cooperation and friendship
CARICOM Member States boast a proud heritage in academia, literature, the arts, music and sports as exemplified amongst others by three Nobel laureates. Japan looks to dramatically expand the reach of our exchanges, already elevated through the Japan-CARICOM Friendship Year 2014, to further foster mutual understanding and respect.
More than 300 participants from the CARICOM Member States have engaged in English language education in Japan. Japanese language education has likewise taken root in the University of the West Indies. Japan will promote Japanese language education through strengthening cooperation with the Japan Foundation and through the utilization of tools such as Information and Communication Technologies (ICT).
We will also promote tourism between Japan and CARICOM. CARICOM Member States will be participating in the “Tourism EXPO JAPAN” to be held in September 2014 utilizing the Japan-CARICOM Friendship Fund.
We wish the best for the athletes of CARICOM Member States at the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics Games in Tokyo. We look to work with the CARICOM Member States in fostering friendship and mutual understanding towards 2020 and spread the value of sports and the Olympic and Paralympic Movement through the international cooperation scheme “Sport for Tomorrow”, amongst others.
Third Pillar: Cooperation in addressing challenges of the international community
Japan, from the policy of “Proactive Contributor to Peace” based on the principle of international cooperation, will engage more proactively in strengthening our UN diplomacy, urging disarmament and non-proliferation, promoting international peace cooperation, addressing development issues and challenges of global concern, ensuring human security, amongst others. Japan places importance in our policy dialogues with CARICOM Member States which share fundamental values and looks to strengthen its diplomatic structure.
Japan will strengthen dialogue and cooperation with CARICOM Member States concerning various challenges faced by the international community, such as: United Nations reform including concrete progress on UN Security Council Reform; cooperation on climate change towards an agreement on a new, fair and effective international framework with the participation of all countries; achievement of the Millennium Development Goals and formulation of a post-2015 development agenda; and disaster risk reduction.
Japan will work with the CARICOM Member States in promoting the three principles of the rule of law at sea: (i) making and clarifying claims based on international law, (ii) not using force or coercion and (iii) seeking to settle disputes by peaceful means in the international community.