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As introduced, I am Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan. Your Excellency Remengesau, President of Palau; Your Excellency Panuelo, President of Micronesia, ladies and gentlemen,

I’m absolutely delighted today that I am able to attend this wonderful event together with my close friend President Remengesau to celebrate the 25th anniversary of our diplomatic relations between Japan and Palau, the two countries connected by historical bond or kizuna.

I also want to introduce to you a friend of President Remengesau, Mr. Panuelo, the President of Micronesia, who is here today as well in attendance.

Let me offer my sincere respect to President Remengesau for protecting the beautiful blue ocean of Palau, for developing the country for a very long time, and for deepening our bilateral relationship between Japan and Palau.

Especially this year President Remengesau has visited Japan numerous times and many Japanese high-level officials have visited the island Palau as well. We have seen many, many cultural and exchange events throughout the year to celebrate the 25th anniversary and have reinvigorated our grass-root level exchanges.

I’d like to take this opportunity to especially thank President Remengesau and the State Minister Marugg for attending the enthronement ceremony of His Imperial Majesty the Emperor.

Following our meeting in March, at this opportunity, President Remengesau and I had an opportunity to have a meeting to further reconfirm, to further strengthen our strongrelationshipbetween Palau and Japan based on friendship and cooperation.

In order to further deepen our bond between Japan and Palau, Japan will strengthen our efforts especially as Palau will be hosting the Our Ocean Conference next August. In responding to the hopes of President Remengesau, Japan is resolute in supporting not only in substantial issues but also on the logistics of the successful conference of Our Ocean.

As we hope for a direct flight between Japan and Palau, currently Skymark Airline is working towards this end, and I hear that they are planning a regular direct flight that we have all been waiting for, hopefully as early as possible before next August Our Ocean Conference, and as the Government of Japan we will do our utmost to support this.

I also want to take this opportunity to deeply thank the Government of Palau, the Red Cross of Palauand the people of Palau for their donations collected for the damages of Typhoon Hagibis.

Today we celebrate the 25th anniversary of our diplomatic relations. 25 years they seem a little short but our history goes way back and we have a very rich historical connection between Japan and Palau.

If you look at the flags of both Japan and Palau, you can see that they resemble the strong friendship that can never be broken between the two countries.

The people of Palau I believe you can understand how much you have common passion and feelings towardsJapan, as President Remengesau you mentioned about the cooperation as two countries in the international arena, we very much appreciate the strong support that Palau has given to Japan.

Many Japanese have actually been transformed into the language of Palau, for example, kampai is shotos.

Let us now connect our heartsfor the people of Japan and the people of Palau.Now that we will be having a direct flight to Palau, let us see many more Japanese visiting the country of Palau.

Let me end my remarks by wishing that Japan and Palau will be able to walk together towards the future for a wonderful relationship and for the good health of President Remengesau and for the further prosperity of the country of Palau and a wonderful ties between our two countries.

Arigato gozaimashita. Mesulang. (PM Abe speech via Japan Embassy in Palau)