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August 26, 2014

JICA President Tanaka Visits Costa Rica

photoJICA President Akihiko Tanaka, left, holds talks with Costa Rican President Luis Guillermo Solís, right.

For his first time since assuming office, JICA President Akihiko Tanaka visited Costa Rica from Aug. 17 to 19, and held a series of talks with Costa Rican dignitaries including President Luis Guillermo Solís.

On Aug. 18, he also signed a loan agreement for up to 16.81 billion yen with the Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE) for the Las Pailas II Geothermal Project (Guanacaste Geothermal Development Sector Loan), referring to JICA's intention to support climate change countermeasures and efforts to meet electric power demand in Costa Rica, which aims for harmony between economic growth and environmental conservation through the loan.

Before the aforementioned signing ceremony, Tanaka paid a courtesy visit to Solís. Vice-President and Minister of Finance Helio Fallas Venegas, Minister of Foreign Affairs Manuel Antonio Gónzalez Sanz, Minister of Environment, Energy, Sea, Coasts and Wetlands Edgar Gutiérrez Espeleta, Minister of Planning and Economic Policy Olga Marta Sánchez Oviedo and President of ICE Carlos Manuel Obregon Quesada also attended the meeting. In the meeting, Tanaka announced that JICA would continue cooperation aimed at sustainable development in Costa Rica, being an upper-most middle income country as well as a model case of success in the area of environmental conservation. He also expressed his intention for JICA to take measures to assist other developing countries in partnership with Costa Rica.

Solís stressed the importance of the energy sector, which is the target of the financial assistance agreed upon. He also expressed appreciation for JICA's long years of assistance and hoped that the two countries engage in triangular cooperation for issues common to the two countries, including climate change. Cabinet ministers in attendance referred to their expectation for Japan’s continuous assistance to Costa Rica in the fields of energy and the biodiversity preservation.

On the same day, in his talks with Obregon of ICE, which is the borrower of the aforementioned Japanese ODA loan, Tanaka praised years of smooth efforts to carry out projects with the institution, which is engaged in an example of renewable energy development to the world, and he said JICA would like to work together with ICE to widely publicize their successes.

Obregon also touched on the many years of cooperation between the two institutions and the need for further cooperation on the stable provision of renewable energy.

The two men also discussed their shared recognition of the importance of solid execution of the geothermal development sector loan project and human resource development.

photoTanaka observes sustainable agriculture in practice.

During his stay in Costa Rica, Tanaka visited the site of the Project for Promoting Participatory Biodiversity Conservation, which is being jointly carried out with regional residents to conserve the abundant biodiversity in Costa Rica, and he observed the practice of sustainable agriculture at the farmer level and the symbiosis between environmental conservation and the lives of residents.

Tanaka also held talks with Chair of the United Nations Advisory Board on Human Security Sonia Picado, a native of Costa Rica, in which they discussed the promotion of human security.

In addition, he interviewed alumni of JICA’s training and dialogue programs in Japan and JICA experts and volunteers currently being dispatched, to check on the current state of effective technical cooperation in Costa Rica.

Tanaka wrapped up his stay in Costa Rica and departed for his next destination, El Salvador, on Aug. 19.

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