October 24, 2019
From Oct. 16 to 18, JICA President Shinichi Kitaoka visited the Republic of Palau, becoming the first JICA president to do so. There he conferred with H.E. Tommy E. Remengesau Jr., President of the Republic of Palau, and other government officials and conducted site visits of ODA projects.
Meeting with President Remengesau
Dr. Kitaoka met with Mr. Remengesau at the Office of the President, Meyuns Satellite Office in Koror State in Palau. For his part, Dr. Kitaoka spoke of the immense importance of Palau to the “Free and Open Indo-Pacific,” as it holds vast exclusive economic zone (EEZ). Mr. Remengesau expressed his appreciation for JICA’s cooperation with development of Palau’s basic infrastructure and the contributions made by JICA overseas cooperation volunteers to Palau’s development. Both parties confirmed their intent to further deepen cooperation between the two countries.
During the news conference that following the meeting, Dr. Kitaoka touched upon the deep historical connection between Palau and Japan, and spoke of the importance of continuing to strengthen person-to-person connections. As a concrete measure aimed at that objective, he said that JICA would contribute to the development of Palau’s future leaders through the “SDGs Global Leaders Course” exchange program, allowing students from Palau to participate in specialized studies at Japanese universities and to learn Japan’s experience of development.
Visit to the Palau International Airport terminal
Dr. Kitaoka visited the construction site of the “Project of Renovation, Expansion and Management of Palau International Airport,” which is being conducted with JICA cooperation in the form of private sector investment financing. This is Palau’s first infrastructure project to be implemented as a public-private partnership (PPP). The schedule of the airport terminal expansion has been planned with consideration for the “Our Ocean Conference,” which will be held in Palau in August 2020. This visit confirmed the high expectations that Palau holds for the effect this project will have on the development of the country’s trade, investment and tourism.
Visit to the Palau International Coral Reef Center
Dr. Kitaoka visited the Palau International Coral Reef Center as a station of research and education about coral reefs and marine biology. The Center was built under the “Project for Construction of Palau International Coral Reef Center” (1998-2000), a grant aid project, and works to advance research and activities related to conservation of coral reefs and marine biology technical cooperation project through grant aid and Science and Technology Research Partnerships (SATREPS). The visit confirmed the importance of monitoring the effect of climate change and urbanization on coastal areas, and of protecting the coastal ecosystem.
Visit to the Peleliu island primary school
Dr. Kitaoka visited a primary school on Peleliu island, which was the scene of fierce fighting during the second World War. During his visit, he observed a first grade math class taught by a JICA volunteer. The children showed great zeal in working on math drills prepared by the volunteer. The visit confirmed awareness and appreciation by the local community for the on-site collaborative efforts of the JICA volunteers.
Meeting with local people of Japanese descent
Dr. Kitaoka also met with local people of Japanese descent, with whom he had an exchange of meaningful opinions on topics related to Palau and the direction of cooperation.
Building on the opportunity presented by this visit of its president to Palau, JICA continues to contribute to Palau’s economic development and strengthen relations between the two countries.