Your Highness the Head of State
Excellency Ambassador Maugaoleatuolo Shinya Aoki
Members of the Council of Deputies
The Chief Justice
Members of Parliament & the Judiciary
Members of the Diplomatic Corps
Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen
On behalf of the Government and People of Samoa, I thank Your Excellency Ambassador Maugaoleatuolo Aoki for the invitation to celebrate the birthday of His Majesty the Emperor of Japan, Emperor Akihito.
Over the years and as of current, Japan and Samoa have developed strong and cordial relations that have prospered and strengthened. Samoa continues to benefit significantly through development cooperation programmes in a range of key sectors but mainly in transport and infrastructure, human resource development and disaster risk management. This year we have seen the completion of the Extension of the Apia Port project and the ongoing construction of the Vaisigano Bridge as well as the Pacific Climate Change Centre at SPREP headquarters. I wish to make special mention of Japan’s Grant assistance for Grassroots-Human Security Programme focusing on community development.
In May this year, Samoa participated as the Chair of the Forum and Co-Chairs of the PALM 8 summit in Fukushima Prefecture. The PALM Summit continues to be a valuable opportunity for Japan and the Pacific Region to build on the dialogue to explore new opportunities, and formulate strategic interventions to address the many concerns and challenges that we face as a region. We continue to seek ways to mitigate the impacts of climate change and pursue efforts to ensure the sustainable management of our marine resources given our dependence on the Ocean for our livelihoods and wellbeing. I take this opportunity also to acknowledge with great appreciation the hosting of my official visit to Japan prior to the PALM summit.
We strongly believe that the partnerships developed with national prefectures and cities like Fukushima and Iwaki City, are vital in implementing some of the key outcomes of our discussions during the PALM8 summit. In October this year, we welcomed the Mayor of Iwaki city to Samoa who held meetings with the management of the Samoa Rugby Union formalising their hosting of the Manu Samoa during the World Cup preliminary training camps in 2019.
Japan has supported various avenues for capacity building through scholarships and training programs as well as the deployment of technical expertise through the various volunteer personnel schemes. These schemes are important in fostering people to people links between our two countries. As well there have been student exchange programs to see first-hand and learn from the advanced science technology developments Japan is in the forefront of; as well as share knowledge in role model experiences related to climate change responses that we can draw from, to help us address the challenges of climate change and disaster risk management.
In closing, ladies and gentlemen, please join me in extending our best wishes on the celebration of the birthday of His Majesty the Emperor of Japan
I ask you all to raise your glasses for a toast; “ To the continued success and prosperity of the Government and people of Japan and Congratulations on the celebration of the Birthday of His Majesty the Emperor of Japan.