By: L.N. Reklai

(Tokyo, Japan) During the PALM 8 Summit this week, Japan will unveil its Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy to the 16 Pacific Island country leaders, seeking to build collaboration and consensus around this strategy.

“This is not a new idea. Our Prime Minister Abe had promoted this in his speech during his first term in office,” expressed official from Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday.

The strategy promotes collaboration among Pacific countries based on three concepts, Promotion and establishment of rule of law, freedom of navigation free trade, Pursuit of economic prosperity and Commitment to peace and stability in the region.

“Japan will strengthen its engagement with Pacific Island Countries and actively implement ODA projects and other cooperation under this strategy,” reported MOFA official.

Some of the challenges addressed under the strategy include mitigation of natural disasters, addressing illegal fishing, piracy, terrorism and proliferation of WMD.

During the week prior to PALM 8 meeting, bilateral meetings between ministers of respective countries and Japan took place.  At these meetings, exchange of notes on projects in various countries to be funded by Japan ODA in line with the Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy, were made.

At the PALM 8 Summit is co-chaired by Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi Honorable Prime Minister of Samoa and the 14 island members countries including New Caledonia and French Polynesia will be in attendance.