As the Caribbean Community (Caricom) and Japan look forward to the celebration of the 12th anniversary of cooperation in 2014, Japan has signalled its intent to deepen cooperation relations with the region even further.
This indication came from Ambassador Akira Yamada, director general of the Foreign Affairs Ministry of Japan at the opening of the 16th Caricom-Japan consultation, Tuesday at the Georgetown, Guyana headquarters of the Caricom Secretariat.
Ambassador Yamada, who co-chaired the meeting along with Sir Edwin Carrington, ambassador of Trinidad and Tobago to Caricom, noted that Caricom-Japan cooperation has accelerated recently with Japan paying increased attention to its development agenda.
He said Japan’s increased interest had been manifested in its participation in the ministerial meetings of the Council for Foreign and Community Relations and the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), in May, last, and further deepened through a visit to Japan in December 2012, by Haitian President Michel Martelly.
Those engagements, Ambassador Yamada said, were testament of an acknowledgment by Japan of the importance of the Caribbean Community in the global community.
Sir Edwin in his remarks underscored the value of the long-standing friendship Japan and Caricom forged since 1993. Noting that the fruit of the friendship had been evident in a number of cooperation initiatives and technical projects in a wide range of areas that have redounded to the benefit of the governments and peoples of the Caricom and Japan, he said that Tuesday’s consultation presented an opportunity not only to reaffirm the community’s high regard of its relations with Japan, but also to explore avenues in which cooperation can be enhanced.
In this regard, he stated that the future of Caricom-Japan relations must take account of the current situation within the community and the thrust of Caricom heads of government to pursue a development path that engendered inclusiveness of all stakeholders, which would lift knowledge base, innovation capability, and the entrepreneurial capacity of Caricom nationals.
“The community is now to focus on developing the modalities for a framework to generate sustainable economic growth and development in the Caricom region. In this regard, we look forward to collaborating with our development partners in the international community, such as Japan,