A Presidential Directive was issued on November 3, 2023, establishing a “Palau-Japan Special Economic Agreement Commission” with objectives to build a “special” relationship with Japan.
The presidential directive follows a Joint House Resolution No. 11-419S that recognizes historical ties with Japan and calls for closer economic cooperation.
Although Palau already enjoys a close relationship with Japan through a number of associations, the resolution calls for an even closer relationship, including negotiating for special fishing rights for Japan in Palau waters, special status under the Foreign Investment Act, establishing a partnership for exploration of oil and gas and other mineral resources on the Palauan outer continental shelf, even though these activities are banned under the current laws, immigration privileges, and others.
The Palau-Japan Special Economic Agreement Commission is tasked to do studies in these areas of cooperation, including the authority to negotiate. The Commission will terminate upon delivery of the results of their study and recommendations to the President of the Republic, Senate President, and Speaker of the House.