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May 13, 2014

JICA President Akihiko Tanaka Visits the Solomon Islands

photoSolomon Islands Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo, left, and JICA President Akihiko Tanaka hold a joint news conference.

Following his visit to Vanuatu, JICA President Akihiko Tanaka visited the Solomon Islands in the Pacific region from May 6 to 8, and there he held discussions with key figures from the country's government and visited the sites of JICA projects in the country.

On May 7, Tanaka paid a courtesy visit to Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo in the capital of Honiara. At the outset, Tanaka expressed his sympathy for major damage due to the river flooding that accompanied a storm at the beginning of April on Guadalcanal Island, where the capital of Honiara is located. And in an exchange of opinions on future JICA projects, the issue came up that it is necessary to speed up consideration of assistance for road improvement, including restoration of two bridges connecting the airport to the center of Honiara. The bridges were damaged in the river flooding.

At a joint news conference by Lilo and Tanaka after their discussion, Tanaka started out with words of condolences for the river flooding and then touched on plans for assistance to restore the bridge, and he explained the future course of action with regard to JICA's assistance toward Pacific island countries overall. Specifically he said Japan wants to strengthen its relationship with the nations of the Pacific region, which share the Pacific Ocean, the precious world public good, as an important partner that works with the international community. And based on that idea, Japan wants to carry out cooperation in four areas in which Japan has comparative advantage: environmental conservation and management, climate change and disaster management, infrastructure development, and improvement of social service.

photoJICA President Akihiko Tanaka, left, visits a broadcast station.

Tanaka then visited a broadcasting station improved under Japanese grant aid for the Project for the Improvement of Radio Broadcasting Network for Administration of Disaster Prevention. Interested parties on the Solomon Islands side explained that during the river flooding at the beginning of April, equipment provided under the same plan was used effectively and information relating to the disaster was quickly and accurately transmitted, and Tanaka confirmed that the equipment was operating correctly.

Also, during Tanaka's stay, he held discussions with development partners including the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, the European Union, Australia and New Zealand on the future of assistance to Pacific island nations, and they affirmed the need to continue expanding their joint cooperation. He also observed the activities of Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers giving nutrition education for the prevention of non-communicable diseases at a health clinic, and he talked with JICA experts working in Honiara and volunteer personnel.

On May 8, the final day of his visit to the Solomon Islands, Tanaka visited a war memorial, dedicated a bouquet of flowers and gave a prayer for peace, before returning to Japan.

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