October 15, 2008

Department of Youth and Civic Affairs

His Excellency Ambassador Shoji Sato of Japan to the FSM made his first official visit to Yap since assuming his post as the first resident Ambassador of Japan accredited to the FSM. During his visit, Ambassador Sato paid courtesy calls on Governor Anefal and Lt. Governor Tony Tareg as well as other government officials, including the two traditional chief Councils. During the visit, Anefal welcomed the Ambassador to the island and expressed gratitude to him for taking time to visit Yap. Anefal said that he has been monitoring developments at Palikir, particularly on the matter pertaining to the upgrade of the Japan Embassy to the ambassadorial level, and thus he is indeed grateful that this has become a reality soon before the second visit to the FSM by former Prime Minister Mori. Mori Sensei has indeed been a long-time friend of the FSM and the prime mover and shaker for positive bilateral developments between FSM and Japan, according to Governor Anefal.

Ambassador Sato said that since his arrival on the island, he has had a chance to observe a little of the island and was impressed with what he had seen. He informed the Governor that the Japan Embassy in Pohnpei has now been upgraded to a full fledged embassy with the necessary staff. He further indicated that this will enable more attention to the state governments from the embassy particularly for Yap, which is the farthest state from Pohnpei. During the course of their discussion, the two exchanged views on issues and matters of common interest, including Japan technical assistance through JICA/JOCV and OFCF. The Ambassador said that his intention is to pull together the Japanese government and other affiliated agencies working in the FSM to form a "Japan Team" that would develop a concerted effort to help the States.

Ambassador Sato was also able to visit grassroots projects supported by his Government. During his island-wide tour, Ambassador Sato was taken on a canoe ride by members of the Yap Traditional Navigation Society. The Ambassador and his small delegation participated in a small dinner sponsored by the Yap State Leadership.

Ambassador Sato was accompanied by JICA Resident Representative, Mr. Shinichi Hamada, and Yap JICA/JOCV coordinator, Ms. Fumiko Mastutade.