June 08, 2015

By Embassy of Japan to the FSM
The Kaselehlie Press

Newly elected President of the FSM, H.E. Peter M. Christian, participated in the Seventh Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting (PALM7) held on 22 and 23 May 2015 in Iwaki-city, Fukushima, Japan. This was his first overseas visit soon after taking office as the 8th President of the Federated States of Micronesia on 11 May.

While in Tokyo, President Christian and representative of PIF countries were invited to an afternoon tea with Their Majesties, the Emperor and Empress along with members of the Imperial Family. A welcoming reception was also hosted by the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

In Fukushima, President Christian and the other leaders received heartfelt welcome by local people; President Christian enjoyed friendly interactions with many school children who lined up along the street to greet the leaders.

President Christian also held a bilateral meeting with the Prime Minister of Japan, H.E. Shinzo Abe to discuss important issues of the two countries.

In his keynote speech during the opening session of the PALM7, the Prime Minister Abe said "we will be able to grow an awareness that we are Pacific citizens and are on the same boat".

Co-chair of the PALM7, H.E.Tommy Remengesau, Jr., President of Palau, responded in his opening address, "the PALM process is important in progressing our regional relationship with Japan, who is a long-time friend of the Pacific region."

Disaster risk reduction was high on the agenda for Forum Leaders in their discussions with the Prime Minister Abe. Leaders and Prime Minister Abe shared their experiences of responding to and recovering from natural disasters, including the recent events of Cyclone Pam and Typhoon Maysak and the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan.

Forum Leaders offered their support to Prime Minister Abe's proposal to establish World Tsunami Day on 5 November 2015 and welcomed Japan's offer of support for Forum Island Countries' national, sub-regional and regional efforts to strengthen disaster risk reduction.

Leaders emphasized the importance of ensuring the sustainable use of the ocean in accordance with regional frameworks including the Palau Declaration on The Ocean: Life and Future. As a major fishing nation in the Pacific Ocean, Japan undertook to further cooperate with countries and regional fisheries organizations to promote sustainable fisheries, including in the high seas.

Prime Minister Abe announced a 55 billion yen package (approximately USD452 million) of development assistance to the Forum Island Countries over the next three years, which will focus on the areas of: disaster risk reduction; climate change; environment; people-topeople exchanges; sustainable development (including human resource development); oceans, maritime issues and fisheries; and trade, investment and tourism.