Wednesday, December 09, 2009

KEEP ENGAGING WITH FIJI: JAPAN

www.fijisun.cm.fj - 9 December 2009

Japanese leaders will continue to engage with Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama’s Government until Fiji is able to restore an acceptable democratic process for the way forward.

They believe it is imperative that Japan engages with Mr Bainimarama on critical good governance and human rights issues because it would comfortably allow Fiji to make guaranteed transition into what it wants for its people.

Ambassador of Japan, Yutaka Yoshizawa, has been regularly in touch with Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama. PM Hatoyama hopes a continuous engagement with Fijian leaders on certain matters regarding the democratic process would carry on.

“Small changes make certain differences for Fiji and we are watching with a lot of hope that the Commodore will begin to pave the way forward in his reform process.

“I believe in the end, he must conduct an early election because it will be good for Fiji,” Mr Yoshizawa said.

He has also been regularly talking with Mr Bainimarama, expressing his government’s wishes to not only pressure, but engage in dialogue to help Fiji restore democracy.

The government of Japan has followed Fiji’s political strife for a long time and has often expressed its views.

“I have also talked with the Commodore on a very engaging stance, given that Japan is beginning to notice the little differences the Commodore is creating for Fiji and its people.

“I am beginning to believe that the Commodore has a lot of sincerity in issues close to the heart of the people of Fiji.

“For that, Japan will help out,” he added.

The Ambassador also suggested that Mr Bainimarama speed up his reform process by engaging the people of Fiji through a referendum or a Constitutional assessment.

“There must be a mechanism in place to sincerely ask for people’s opinion on what they want for the way forward.

“It could close up the gap of the reform process and allow for confidence in the Commodore’s plans.”

Mr Yoshizawa revealed he was regularly in touch with the PM on critical issues of good governance and the democratic process. He also revealed he was speaking with certain sectors of society that were becoming comfortable with Mr Bainimarama’s plans for Fiji although they were feeling the pinch of a downturn in the economy.

Japan has a long standing bilateral and diplomatic relationship with Fiji and has often called on Fijian leaders to solve its political problems within the context of the constitution.

Mr Yoshizawa also expressed his hope that Fiji would participate in open dialogue with its diplomatic partners, particularly Australia and New Zealand.

“We (Japan) have a moral code in providing economic assistance where it matters. We will always ensure that certain sections of society that need it, receive aid, particularly where it concerns human rights, good governance, etc.”

The Ambassador was speaking at his official residence in Tamavua yesterday.

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