The first economic forum co-hosted by Palau and Japan in Palasia Hotel, Koror on December 4 had attracted the largest Japanese delegation compared to the other similar events co-hosted by Japan with other Pacific Island Countries (PICs), the Japanese Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Norikazu Suzuki said.

Suzuki, in an interview with the media, said that he headed a Japanese delegation comprised of executives from 18 Japanese-run companies.

The Parliamentary Vice Minister also added that Japan had also co-hosted similar economic fora in the Marshall Islands, Samoa, and Fiji but the number of Japanese delegation that attended the same forum in Palau was the largest so far.

Suzuki said that this only reveals that many Japanese show greater interests in Palau.

The one-day economic forum dubbed as the Palau-Japan Trade, Investment, and Tourism Seminar was part of the agreed vision for the “Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy” that was included in the discussion during the 8th Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting (PALM8) held in Japan last May, according to Suzuki.

“I think this joint public and private economic mission is a great start to enhance tourism in Palau,” Suzuki said when asked about how Japan can help the country strengthen its tourism and trade industry.

Suzuki, who was visiting Palau for the first time, also shared that he was impressed by Palau’s environmental conservation initiatives and cleanliness.

“I’m really impressed that Palau is prioritizing its environment and I am surprised that the town is very clean. I think it is cleaner than Japan,” Suzuki said. (Rhealyn C. Pojas)