Q&A with Japan Ambassador

Q&A with Ambassador of Japan to Fiji and Kiribati about climate change

Ambassador of Japan to Fiji and Kiribati during his recent visit to Tarawa, Kiribati. Photo: Jolee Wakefield/KAPIII

Ambassador of Japan to Fiji and Kiribati during his recent visit to Tarawa, Kiribati. Photo: Jolee Wakefield/KAPIII

Recently appointed Ambassador of Japan for Fiji and Kiribati His Excellency Eiichi Oshima visited Kiribati for the first time this week. During his busy schedule, His Excellency met the President, toured Tarawa and was the guest of honor at a ceremony for a new fire truck donated by Japan at police headquarters. He also kindly took the time to conduct a Q&A, below.

What is the purpose of your visit to Kiribati?

My major purpose is to present my credentials to the President of Kiribati Anote Tong.

What is your impression of Kiribati?

My impression of Kiribati is very nice. I visited many places and met many people and I found Kiribati is a very nice country.

What is the importance of the relationship between Japan and Kiribati?

I emphasise the so called ko suna – it means ‘strong human bond’. As you know, we (Japan) experienced a severe earthquake and tsunami last year. At that time, the government and people of Kiribati sent us a very warm and sincere message of sympathies and gave us a very generous donation. So I think it’s a result of our long relationship and friendship that we should continue with this good relationship.

What are your thoughts on the current problems Kiribati is facing at the moment in terms of climate change?

The President Tong stressed climate change and sea level rise as a serious problem for Kiribati. Japan would like to cooperate with Kiribati to adapt to this situation.

This May we held a summit meeting called PALM 6 in Japan. At that time we discussed many subjects, including environmental topics such as clean water and garbage programs and so on. I know Pacific Island countries face a lot of these problems, especially water, and we want to help where we can.

Japan has already donated $1.8million to The Kiribati Adaptation Program – Phase III (KAP III) project. What do you think of KAP and the current efforts being made to tackle climate change and provide safe drinking water for people in Kiribati?

The project is developing well, but it’s going to take a long time. For example, the mangroves are very effective for erosion but they are still small. Overall, it’s a very good project.