A range of common Japan-Blue Pacific priorities, including updates relating to the planned discharge of treated Fukushima nuclear wastewater into the Pacific Ocean, were discussed during a high-level visit to the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat on the weekend.

The Pacific Islands Forum Secretary General, Henry Puna met with Japan’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Yoshimasa Hayashi as part of the Minister’s official visit to Fiji.

“Japan is an important Forum Dialogue Partner and bilateral partner to Forum Members. There is mutual appreciation of the common priorities we share, particularly around enhanced cooperation with the Forum; collaboration through the PALM Leaders meeting building on the success of PALM 9; and ongoing aspects of geopolitical positioning and security,” SG Puna said.

A key focus of the meeting was Japan’s plans to discharge treated Fukushima nuclear wastewater into the Pacific Ocean, with SG Puna emphasising the need to work together in an open and transparent manner, including amongst experts, to ensure no harm to the ocean, environment, and health of peoples. 

SG Puna further emphasised the paramount need for access to all data and evidence underpinning Japan’s decision and requested to defer the commencement of discharge until the PIF Independent Panel of Experts can provide Forum Leaders with the necessary advice based on access to all data and information. Japan assured it will not discharge the nuclear wastewater if it is not safe to do so.

The meeting also covered updates on the Tokyo-based Japan Pacific Islands Centre, established in 1996 between the Forum and Japan to strengthen mutual trade and investment opportunities within the Pacific.

“As the Centre marks more than 25 years, the meeting with Minister Hayashi was a chance to envision its role for the next 25 years and ensure a strengthened role for Pacific Island countries in the governance of the Centre,” SG Puna said.

This feature was originally published at PIFS on 07 May 2022 and reposted via PACNEWS.

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