Islands in the Pacific Ocean are like gems among the glistening blue waters. An airplane begins a rapid descent to a coral atoll, a truly beautiful sight, and you can imagine the coral reefs in their entire colorful array and the abundance of fish swimming around them as viewed from above.
Unfortunately, being a coral atoll nation brings with it a host of problems; a steady supply of drinking water is not secured, land fit for crop cultivation is scarce, and children cannot get an opportunity for education because there are no schools on remote islands even though they love to go to schools. In addition, there are no doctors stationed on some islands, such that people suffer from malaria, filariasis and other infectious diseases. Noncombustible waste increases too rapidly to be handled anymore without adequate disposal facilities, untreated dirty water and sewage flow into the ocean, and power generation facilities are not operating due to high fuel cost. Also, the residents live with impending fears of rising sea levels because of global warming, possibly leading to their islands’ disappearance. What thus appears to be a paradise in the ocean, has a bad side, fraught with problems.
Deepening its relations with Australia, New Zealand and UN agencies while respecting each initiative, JICA offers cooperation for Pacific nations’ self-sufficiency. By promoting such cooperation projects that can cover a wide area where the island countries scatter throughout the Pacific Ocean, we aim at the maximum results in an efficient manner with providing the minimum aid. For that purpose, we study situations they face to and execute cooperation programs. Through technical cooperation and others, we hope to contribute ourselves to develop our neighbors in the Pacific and consider it an honor to assist in friendly relations between Japan and nations in the South Pacific.
If you have a chance to visit Oceania resort, I would like you to take a look at the back streets where the local residents are living, and to think if there is anything you can do for them. There must be surely something you can together with us to make a difference for the beautiful island nations.
Vinaka vakalevu -- Fijian for "thank you."