January 10, 2011

By Embassy of Japan to the FSM
The Kaselehlie Press

On December 28, 2010 Ambassador Shoji Sato attended the Signing ceremony held by Director Romio Osiena of Chuuk Department of Marine Resources, for a grant in the amount of $US106,034.00 by the Government of Japan. President Mori and Senator Roger Mori also attended. The grant was provided by Japan's Grant Aid Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Projects to purchase fishing equipment to promote a new alternative safe method of fishing in place of dangerous and illegal dynamite fishing.

Ambassador Sato has been very concerned about the negative impact that dynamite fishing has had on the environment and especially the livelihoods of the people of Chuuk. Since his induction as the first fullfl edged Japanese Ambassador to the FSM in June 2008, he has worked closely with Japanese aid agencies such as JICA and OFCF to formulate a project for an alternative method of fishing and made a commitment to President Mori that he would do so.

Protection of people's safety and a sustainable fishing method match up with the basic purpose of the scheme for the Grassroots Human Security grant and if an alternate fishing method was introduced it would improve both in many ways such as a more safe and efficient fishing method for the fishing community and would also introduce a new income generating opportunity.

Mr. Maruhisa Ishii, a Senior Volunteer from JICA, was assigned as Project Leader for the project and with combined efforts from the Japanese aid agencies and the Embassy staff, the project was made possible.

In order to achieve the success of the project, it is essential to raise awareness about the importance of the cooperation for the project by the whole local community.

Several grants have been granted to organizations and government departments in Chuuk in the year 2010. Namely a student centre for the Xavier High School, Chuuk Women's Council Centre, school buses for Saramen Chuuk Academy, and a bulldozer for the Chuuk Environmental Protection Agency.

Ambassador Sato stated in his remarks at the ceremony that 2010 had been an "all important year for both Japan and the Federated States of Micronesia" and hopes are high for the New Year.