December 5, 2018
JICA President Shinichi Kitaoka visited Colombia, Costa Rica and Mexico on Nov. 1-11, met with top officials from each country and visited the sites of ODA projects.
Mr. Kitaoka held talks with Carlos Holmes Trujillo, the foreign minister, and Diana Abaunza, vice-minister of national defense, in Bogota. Mr. Kitaoka said it is important for Latin American countries and Japan to learn from each other to deepen their relationships. He also mentioned that JICA is committed to continuing cooperation with the Colombian government's peace-building efforts aimed to end a civil conflict that has spanned half a century. While expressing appreciations for JICA's long years of cooperation, the Colombian side indicated that they hope for continuous cooperation from JICA, that includes sharing Japan's development experience, in order for the current government to achieve its goals of economic growth and peace-building.
At the International Demining Center, located in southwest of Bogota, Mr. Kitaoka observed human resource training related to mine clearing being conducted through Japanese technical cooperation.
Mr. Kitaoka met with Carlos Alvarado Quesada, the Costa Rican president, who introduced about an initiative to achieve "carbon neutrality," in which net emissions of greenhouse gases are reduced to zero. As Costa Rica and Japan both value democracy and have initiatives on climate change, Mr. Kitaoka and Mr. Alvarado agreed to deepen their cooperation.
Carlos Manuel Rodriguez, minister of environment and energy, and Mr. Kitaoka met and agreed on the significance and importance of disseminating their experiences with other countries to promote climate change countermeasures.
Mr. Kitaoka visited Querétaro state, where the automobile industry is concentrated, including Japanese companies. The main issues of the industry are capacity building of human resources and small businesses which make up the supply chain. Mr. Kitaoka visited a technical high school where JICA provided support to establish an automotive course through technical cooperation, as well as local businesses, and he reaffirmed the status of JICA's initiatives and the results of its cooperation.
Mr. Kitaoka met with Secretary of Foreign Affairs Luis Videgaray Caso and Agustín García-López Loaeza, executive director of the Mexican Agency for International Development Cooperation (AMEXCID). They agreed to further cooperate on triangular cooperation and other projects. They discussed the deep historical ties between Japan and Mexico, and affirmed the importance of the countries' partnership in the international arena, including promoting democracy and multilateralism, as seen in the Trans-Pacific Partnership and climate change countermeasures.
At an event co-sponsored by AMEXCID and JICA, Mr. Kitaoka gave a lecture entitled "Japan's Modernization and Mexico." In front of an audience of some 150 people including scholars involved in research on Japan, bureaucrats, Nikkei people and others, Mr. Kitaoka touched upon the two countries' 400 years of history and its significance, and said they will continue trust-based cooperation.
Mr. Kitaoka also visited the Asociación Mexico Japonesa and the Museum of Japanese Immigration to Mexico “AKANE,” which teaches the history of Japanese emigration. There, Mr. Kitaoka met with association president Nobutaka Wakui and others from the association. Mr. Kitaoka confirmed that for the maintenance and development of Nikkei communities, it is important to preserve the history of the emigration and to maintain a place for Nikkei people to gather.
Taking the opportunity afforded by this visit by a JICA president, JICA will further contribute to the economic development of Colombia, Costa Rica and Mexico and stronger relations with them.