“Japan and Palau have “tokubets” special and exceptional relationship based on long histories, and the bond is very strong,” expressed Ambassador Orikasa Hiroyuki, during the press tour to visit three ongoing projects through Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

There are several ongoing technical and infrastructure projects, but the JICA press tour focused on three.

The projects included the provision of a pole and line vessel to BOFI (Belau Offshore Fisheries Inc.) and the training of BOFI personnel, not only on the use of the boat but also the production of the bait fish, value-adding services, and marketing.

Ministry of Health, through JICA and Japan government, will be opening a new $5 million state-of-the-art ICU Isolation Unit, fully equipped, including having its own generators and oxygen machine, to take care of serious medical cases that require isolation from the general patient population.

The project included extensive training and certification of both doctors and nurses of the Belau National Hospital to be able to utilize the facility as well as treat different medical cases that will require the use of the facility.

The third highlighted project, the Meyuns Elementary School cafeteria, costing over $400 thousand dollars, will provide the most modern cafeteria in Palau with the capacity to seat 200 students.  The facility, funded through Japan’s Grassroots Grant Fund, provides the students with the best environment for their meals as well as serves other purposes, such as shelter in a time of natural disaster and for large school functions.

In each of the three (3) projects, JICA volunteers in specialized fields are there to help build capacity while providing additional support.   For example, in Meyuns Elementary School, a math specialist is embedded in the classrooms to help with teaching math as well as training the teachers.  At the hospital, a physiotherapist with a specialty in respiratory therapy is also working side by side with medical staff as well as helping to develop a physiotherapy program for the MOH.

The main goals of the projects are to improve the quality of life and to raise the capacity level of the Palauan people in different industries

 “These showcase Palau and Japan’s special relationship,” added Ambassador Hiroyuki of the ongoing programs and projects provided by Japan through JICA.

“Palau is in the driver’s seat.  Our policy is to work with Palau, to find out from them what they need and help.  But at the end of the day, Palau is in the driver’s seat and must be able to use and operate what we provide.  You tell us what you need, and we help where we can.”

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