July 01, 2013

By Bill Jaynes
The Kaselehlie Press

June 20, 2013 Pohnpei, FSM -During a small ceremony at the Pohnpei State Central Building, Japan's Ambassador to the FSM, the Honorable Eiichi Suzuki presented two wheel fitted front end loaders, and two track fitted excavators to the governments of Pohnpei and the Federated States of Micronesia. The brand new equipment was built in areas affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake that struck Japan in 2011.

The donation was part of a $3.1 million "Non-Project Grant Aid" approved in the Japan Diet, Japan's legislative body, early last year. On February 22, 2012 the FSM government accepted the grant aid during a signing ceremony.

In addition to promoting the FSM's economic growth and social development, the grant "also served to support the progress of recovery by the people and areas most affected by the disaster." It is a win-win situation for the two countries.

Japan has already delivered similar equipment to Chuuk, Kosrae, and Yap. Today's ceremony commemorates a total donation of 10 wheel fitted front end loaders, and 10 track fitted excavators at a total of $3.3 million.

According to a press item released by Japan after the 2012 NGPA signing ceremony, Lorin Robert, FSM's Secretary of Foreign Affairs said that as an island nation, coastal problems loom large and are an on-going source of concern for the FSM.

Japan donated the heavy equipment in hopes of providing tools that could potentially help with that problem.

During this morning's ceremony, Ambassador Suzuki expressed his government's support for the efforts made by the FSM to improve its infrastructure, and persistence in further strengthening its own economy while also protecting itself against the "daunting effects of climate change".

Secretary Robert said during his speech that he remembered well the triple disaster that struck Japan and noted that within less than 24 hours of the disaster, President Mori sent a letter of condolence. He remembered the outpouring of support by the people of the FSM who held all manner of fund raising events in an effort to in some small way relieve the suffering of the people of Japan. He said that the FSM is particularly grateful for the grant of equipment because "They are more than what they are. He said that the donations also reflect the fact that the FSM and Japan continue to solidify their bond of friendship.

Governor John Ehsa also thanked the Government of Japan for the donation ,saying that Pohnpei reciprocates all of the goodwill of Japan. He said that the equipment is just what the beleaguered Pohnpei Transportation Authority needs in order to do its work. He assured the Ambassador that the equipment would be put to good use and that it would be maintained well into the future. As the ceremony concluded,

Ambassador Suzuki presented Secretary Robert with a symbolic key to the new equipment, who in turn presented the key to Governor Ehsa. Governor Ehsa presented the key to the Director of the Pohnpei Transportation Authority.

"I would like to reconfirm that my government will continue to work hand in hand with the FSM," Ambassador Suzuki said, "and I am confident that this significant event has woven yet another weave into our bonds of Kizuna, (the bonds of) friendship to continue to fortify our bilateral relations."