Jamaica, Japan move to improve bilateral cooperationWednesday, July 21, 2021
JAMAICA could see an improvement in technical and economic areas with the Japanese Government as the countries held bilateral discussions in Kingston, yesterday.
Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi, who is on an official visit to Jamaica, and Jamaica's Minister of Foreign Senator Kamina Johnson Smith yesterday afternoon held meetings at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in downtown Kingston, following a press briefing earlier in the day.
Minister Motegi said Japan will continue to support Jamaica's national development in areas such as energy efficiency, maritime security, tourism promotion and sports cooperation.
“We will work together to respond to the novel coronavirus pandemic and consider a cooperation in the areas of environmental protection and disaster risk reduction towards overcoming vulnerabilities in particular to small island states and for achieving sustainable development,” he told the briefing.
He added that much attention was being given to the special economic zone (SEZ), with hopes that it will help to strengthen bilateral economic relationship. “We [plan] to coordinate with each other in responding to global challenges such as climate change and also cooperation in the digital field,” he added.
Senator Johnson Smith stressed the importance of addressing matters of climate change, with the approach of COP26 – the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference to be held from October 31 to November 12.
“Both Japan and Jamaica are committed to advancing the goal of the Paris Agreement to hold global average temperature increase to well below two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 degree Celsius above pre-industrial levels,” she said.
Minister Motegi stated that, although this is the first visit by a Japanese foreign minister to Jamaica, Japan and Jamaica share the same basic values and enjoy traditionally friendly relations, and expressed his intention to promote further bilateral cooperation in international fora.
He said, too, that as the world fights to overcome COVID-19, Japan will host the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games in a safe and secure manner, and that Japan intends to use the games as an opportunity to deepen global bonds, and that he hopes the Jamaican athletes will enjoy great success.
Jamaica, meanwhile, expressed its support for the holding of the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games. Both ministers confirmed the track record of active exchanges between Japan and Jamaica, including Japan International Cooperation Agency volunteers and the Japan Exchange and Teaching programme, and shared the view to continue to promote people-to-people and sports exchanges.
Minister Motegi explained Japan's 'Last One Mile Support', which provides medical equipment and builds cold chain systems for Jamaica, was international cooperation at the utmost importance for responding to the coronavirus pandemic, while Jamaica expressed gratitude for Japan's support and emphasised the importance of fair access to vaccines.
Jamaica also had high praises for nthe activities of Japanese companies operating in Jamaica, as well as its hope for the further strengthening of economic relations and both sides agreed to work together in responding to global challenges and to cooperate in international fora, including the United Nations.
Both Jamaica and Japan agreed to work together to maintain and strengthen the free and open international order based on the rule of law, while mentioning bilateral cooperation in maritime security, among other matters. The two sides also exchanged views on regional affairs, including North Korea, the East China Sea and the South China Sea. Minister Motegi requested understanding and cooperation for the immediate resolution of the abductions issue and obtained the support of the Jamaican side.
Montegi also participated in an online Japan-Caricom ministerial conference with the participation of 14 Caricom countries. It was the seventh such conference, and the first time for a Japanese foreign minister to join the conference from the Caribbean.
Jamaica has maintained a diplomatic relations with Japan since 1964. The partnership between both countries was reinforced in 2019 following Prime Minister Andrew Holness's official working visit to the country.
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