On July 18, President Surangel Whipps, Jr. boarded the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) destroyer KIRISAME at the invitation of Commander SAKATA Atsushi, Commanding Officer of KIRISAME to participate in a Salute of Honor of Guards, a tour of the ship, and a courtesy ceremony. This event was also attended by Ambassador KARASAWA Akira, Vice President and Minister of Justice Uduch Sengebau-Senior, Minister of State Gustav Aitaro, Minister of Public Infrastructure and Industries Charles Obichang, Minister of Human Resources, Culture, Tourism and Development Ngiraibelas Tmetuchl, Minister of Education Dale Jenkins, other government officials and local media.
At the courtesy ceremony, Commander Sakata expressed his deepest gratitude to President Whipps and the Government of Palau for accepting KIRISAME’s port visit and its crew into Palau, and also said, “during our visit to Palau, we were fortunate to be able to interact with many people of Palau including children, and experience their kindness and hospitality through Japan-Palau-US goodwill softball games, judo instruction for children, cleanup and memorial activities at Sakura-kai Cemetery, and a public tour of KIRISAME. We hope that we can continue to hold such events in the future”. Commander Sakata concluded his remarks by saying, “we, JMSDF, will conduct Japan-Palau goodwill exercise from 20 July to 22 July and continue to contribute to ensuring peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region including Palau as well as maintaining and reinforcing the maritime order in order to realize a ‘Free and Open Indo-Pacific’”.
Ambassador Karasawa also thanked President Whipps and his delegation for attending this event on KIRISAME, and stated, “the fact that JMSDF’s ships visit Palau more than once a year clearly shows the maritime security cooperation between our two countries is being strengthened furthermore.
President Whipps welcomed KIRISAME and its crew in Palau, and appreciated their interaction with the people of Palau, and the goodwill exercise between Japan and Palau. President Whipps stated, “we believe that presence is deterrence, so KIRISAME’s visit to Palau is a demonstration of our commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific. We appreciate the support and commitment of the People and Government of Japan to security, freedom, democracy and the rule of law in the world, especially the Pacific region. He added, “Next time, I hope that you will stay in Palau for more than a month, not just one week.”
Through these events, both countries reaffirmed the commitment to continue to promote cooperation toward the realization of a “Free and Open Indo-Pacific”.